Mitt Romney says he will strive to build a “trusting relationship” with Trump, despite differences

Trump responds to Mitt Romney

Before being sworn in as Utah’s junior senator, Mitt Romney said he looks forward to building a “trusting relationship” with President Trump, despite strong disagreements between the two. 

 “I look forward to being able to have a trusting relationship with the president and others despite differences from time to time,” Romney told reporters on Thursday outside his temporary office. 

In a scathing New Year’s Day editorial for the Washington Post, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee accused Mr. Trump of not rising “to the mantle of the office” and questioned the president’s character as America’s commander-in-chief. Romney criticized the White House’s foreign policy agenda, in particular, the president’s plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, and vowed to speak out against statements or actions by president which he deemed “divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions”.

“As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring,” Romney wrote. 

On Thursday, Romney defended his decision to write the op-ed, which his niece and chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel denounced as “disappointing and counterproductive.”

“I think it’s important as I step into the Senate in this new responsibility to lay out my priorities and my perspectives which I was able to do,” Romney said of his opinion piece.

“I’m not worried about what other people think about what I have to say. I just want to hear what they have to say about their priorities and their perspective,” he added. 

Alan He contributed to this report. 

© CBS Interactive Inc.

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