Romney Claps Back at Trump’s Callousness Toward the Protests

Quite the subtweet.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

After President Trump spent the week demeaning protesters demanding justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, former Republican presidential nominee and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney offered a tweet to suggest he disagrees with the president’s response.

On Saturday morning, Romney shared a photograph of his father, George Romney, marching alongside civil rights protesters in the Detroit suburbs in the late 1960s. The elder Romney had served as governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969 and had a record of championing civil rights in both his rhetoric and the fiscal policies he advanced to address systemic inequality.

“This is my father, George Romney, participating in a Civil Rights march in the Detroit suburbs during the late 1960s,” Romney wrote alongside the photograph. He also shared a quote from the former governor: “Force alone will not eliminate many riots. We must eliminate the problems from which they stem.”

This is the strongest criticism we’ve seen from younger Romney, who has had positive, if tepid, response to protests that have broken out following Floyd’s death. Last week, he tweeted that “peaceful protests underscore the urgency of addressing injustices,” but scolded the looting and vandalism that happened alongside them—less Trumpian than many of his fellow GOP lawmakers, but short of a full embrace. After federal police sprayed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at a crowd of protesters gathered outside the White House so the president could do a photo-op outside of a nearby church, Romney followed the typical GOP playbook of maintaining ignorance of the president’s actions, telling reporters, “I didn’t watch it closely enough to know [what happened].”

Since he won his Senate seat in 2018, Romney—the only GOP senator to vote for Trump’s impeachment—has had a record of contradicting Trump, though he’s often fallen short of fully condemning him. When the president tweeted that Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries, Romney called the comments “destructive, demeaning, and disunifying.” He did not, however, call the president’s tweets racist.

The elder Gov. Romney was among a number of moderate and liberal Republican leaders who’d been supportive of the Civil Rights Act and forged bonds with Black civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Sen. Romney’s tweet serves as a reminder of how far the Republican party has moved from the racial justice platform many of its members once supported.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.