Utah senator Mitt Romney has become the latest prominent Republican to cast doubt on his support for President Donald Trump’s re-election, saying he would “stay quiet” about who he will support in November.
Mr Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told reporters on Capitol Hill: “I’m not going to be describing who I’ll be voting for.”
His open acknowledgement of hesitance in supporting Mr Trump comes after former Trump defence secretary, General James Mattis, and Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski aired criticism of the president’s handling of ongoing protests against the police killings of black Americans.
In 2016, Romney said publicly he would support neither Mr Trump nor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He later said he had cast his vote for his wife, Ann.
Retired general Colin Powell, who served as Republican president George W. Bush’s secretary of state, took a stronger step away from Mr Trump, telling CNN on Sunday he would support presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden this November. Mr Powell had said he voted for Clinton in 2016.
The relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Romney is acrimonious.
Mr Romney was the only GOP senator to support removing Mr Trump from office after the president’s impeachment trial earlier this year.
Mr Trump has derided him as a “fool” and a “failed presidential candidate”.
After the senator attended a march for racial justice on Sunday declaring that “black lives matter”, Mr Trump tweeted sarcastically about Mr Romney’s “sincerity”.
Tremendous sincerity, what a guy. Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would “tank” so badly in Utah! https://t.co/KqHsHmSRKo
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2020
Mr Romney shrugged off that dig on Monday, saying Mr Trump has “got time to do whatever he feels is appropriate”.
He also said he would “presume” the president would consider supporting a police reform measure, given his public expressions of concern about the killing of George Floyd by a white officer in Minneapolis.