Mitt Romney has joined the chorus of voices condemning the vulgar remarks that President Donald Trump reportedly made about Haiti and African countries, calling them “inconsistent [with] America’s history and antithetical to American values” in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day tweet.
“May our memory of Dr. King buoy our hope for unity, greatness, [and] ‘charity for all,’” the former Republican presidential candidate added.
Romney’s criticism of Trump on Monday comes amid reports that the former Massachusetts governor is considering a run for Utah’s Senate seat.
Last Thursday, Trump had disparagingly referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” while discussing immigration reform with lawmakers at the White House, according to various reports.
The president has since denied that he used those exact words. He told reporters on Sunday night that he is “the least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who was in the room during Thursday’s White House meeting, has backed the reports about Trump’s comments, stating that Trump said “these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly.”
Sen. Tim Scott. (R-S.C.), who did not attend the meeting, said that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told him that media reports on Trump’s comments were “basically accurate.”
Graham has declined to confirm Trump’s exact words publicly. He told the Post and Courier on Monday: “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.”
Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), who also attended the meeting, have said that they don’t recall hearing Trump “saying these comments specifically.”
Romney has been an outspoken critic of Trump, though Trump reportedly considered him as a potential candidate for secretary of state in 2016.
Most recently, Romney urged Roy Moore ― the Republican candidate in Alabama’s Senate race whom Trump ultimately backed ― to step aside following accusations that Moore had sexually assaulted and pursued underage girls.
Romney also spoke out against Trump’s presidential ambitions in 2016, at one point calling the then-presidential candidate a “phony” and “a fraud” whose “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
He also criticized the president for lacing “his public speeches with vulgarity.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sen. Tim Scott attended the meeting and confirmed having heard Trump’s comments. Scott was citing Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was at the meeting.