WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday issued a scathing assessment on the state of today’s U.S. politics and called on elected leaders and others to tone down their rhetoric.

What You Need To Know

  • Sen. Mitt Romney issued a statement Tuesday saying today's political rhetoric is "unbecoming of any free nation"

  • The Utah Republican called out President Trump for his attacks on Sen. Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others

  • Romney also criticized Pelosi for tearing up Trump's State of the Union speech and Keith Olbermann for calling the president a "terrorist"

  • Romney urged Americans to tone down their harsh political rhetoric, saying the world and our children are watching

“I have stayed quiet with the approach of the election,” said Romney, R-Utah. “But I’m troubled by our politics, as it has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation — let alone the birthplace of modern democracy.”

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor called out people from both the right and the left, but his harshest criticism was of President Donald Trump. 

“The president calls the Democratic vice presidential candidate ‘a monster;’ he repeatedly labels the speaker of the House ‘crazy;’ he calls for the Justice Department to put the prior president in jail; he attacks for the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her,” said Romney, who was the only Republican who voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trial.

Romney said Democrats, too, are guilty of blistering attacks “though their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as others.”

The Utah senator criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for tearing up Trump’s State of the Union speech and liberal pundit Keith Olbermann for calling Trump a “terrorist,” noting the media amplifies much of it.

Romney also said the heated rhetoric fuels political violence.

“The rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters who take the small and predictable step from intemperate word to dangerous action,” he said. “The world is watching American with abject horror; more consequently, our children are watching. Many Americans are frightened for our country—so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent.”

Romney said “it is time to lower the heat,” even urging parents, bosses, journalists, professors and union bosses to do their part.

“The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place,” he said. “No sane person can want that.”