Romney attributes his father’s legacy as governor of Michigan in the late 1960s to some of his recent actions, but also says events over the past few weeks have left him thinking – like many Americans – that more needs to change.
“I’m declaring the obvious, and that’s black life matter,” Romney told reporters Monday night in a broad interview. “If there is injustice, we want to correct it. If there are prejudices, we want to change that. If there are biases, we hope to give people a different perspective.”
Romney said, although he does not look at the issue of equality politically, he denies that his party has an “embarrassingly small share of African American votes.”
In recent weeks, Romney’s defiance of the president’s words or tweets has been little more than a reaction to Floyd’s death.
After Trump repeatedly put forward a conspiracy theory about the death of an aide who once worked for former congressman, now MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Romney tweeted “enough” last month. And when Trump tweeted Tuesday about an unconfirmed report that a protester knocked down by police in Buffalo, New York, was a member of Antifa, Romney went to the microphone and told reporters on Capitol Hill that the tweet was “shocking” even like most of his Republican colleagues refused to stop or listen to a tweet he read to them.
“I saw the tweet. It was a shocking thing to say and I will not explain it with dignity with further comment,” Romney said.
Lawmakers and associates close to the senator argue that his recent statements are not new or escalating. They say the junior Utah senator has always promised to speak out against the president’s actions when he disagrees. He was, after all, one of Trump’s most persistent critics in 2016.
“Everyone should be allowed to have their say,” Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told CNN about Romney. “I think Mitt has a lot of good friends as part of our conference. … Although people may hardly think from the outside that if he says things you disagree with or maybe says them the wrong way … we still respect his years of his service and his vision. “
In recent days, Romney has said he is working with colleagues to help create the law to curb police brutality. And while many Republicans declined to comment on his criticism of Trump, they claimed Romney emerged as a legislative partner.
“He’s willing to participate in important issues affecting the country,” said Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican who is proposing efforts to overhaul police work. “We should welcome every single senator who wants to be part of the solution. That’s good news. I think self-awareness is a good thing too, but he’s trying to make a difference and I think that’s something to admire.”
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