Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday that President Donald Trump crossed a line when he said four liberal Democrats should go back to the “places from which they came,” but stopped short of calling Trump’s Twitter attack racist.
“Well, I certainly feel that a number of these new members of Congress have views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with building a strong America,” Romney told NBC10 Boston’s Alison King at Logan Airport. “At the same time, I recognize that the president has a unique and noble calling to unite all Americans regardless of our creeds, or our race, or the place of our national origin, and I think in that case, the president fell far short with his comments yesterday.”
Trump, on Sunday, tweeted that four congresswomen of color should go back to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Trump added that he truly believes that the lawmakers “based on their actions, hate our Country.”
Although Trump did not mention the lawmakers by name on Twitter, he was almost certainly referring to Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
All four are American citizens. Omar, who is from Somalia, is the only one who is foreign-born.
In a statement posted on Twitter Monday, Romney said, “Telling American citizens to go back to where they came from is over the line.”
People can disagree over politics and policy, but telling American citizens to go back to where they came from is over the line.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 15, 2019
Pressed by reporters asking whether he thought Trump’s comments were racist, the former Massachusetts governor declined to use the word.
“You know, a lot of people have been using the word and my own view is that what was said and what was tweeted was destructive, was demeaning, was disunifying, and frankly it was very wrong,” Romney said.
6/ More Romney: "It was clearly destructive, it has the potential of being dangerous as well, which is America is strong and economically vital, and the leader of the free world, in part because of our unity, Our national model, United we stand under God."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 15, 2019
When King asked him a similar follow-up question during their exchange at Logan, Romney said, “That’s all I got, thanks,” before he walked away.
on whether Trump tweet is racist. pic.twitter.com/b0A8E2QChh
— Alison King NBC10 Boston (@AlisonNBCBoston) July 15, 2019
According to NBC10 Boston, Romney did not say what brought him back to the Bay State this week.