Jeff Roberson, AP
President Donald Trump listens as Chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, right, speaks during a campaign rally Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

SALT LAKE CITY — GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a statement supporting President Donald Trump and challenging her uncle, Utah Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, on Wednesday morning.

McDaniel’s tweet came less than 12 hours after Romney wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that spoke out against Trump.

She wrote that President Trump is “attacked and obstructed” by the mainstream media and Democrats “24/7.”

“For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack (Trump) as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” she wrote.

Flashback: Romney’s op-ed, published Tuesday night, challenged Trump’s character and style.

  • “It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not,” Romney wrote.
  • “But, on balance, (Trump’s) conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions (in December), is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” wrote Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee.

Trump: Trump tweeted his reaction to the op-ed Wednesday morning and referenced outgoing Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who was a known critic of Trump.

  • “Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake?” Trump tweeted. “ I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”

Family ties: Unlike her uncle, McDaniel has been a long supporter of Trump since the 2016 presidential election when, as the Michigan state chairwoman, she “helped him flip Michigan,” the Washington Examiner reports.

  • McDaniel has taken steps to distance herself from her uncle. In 2017, she accepted Trump’s request for her to drop her maiden name, according to The Washington Post.
  • "It was just a difference of opinion as to where the country needed to go but it didn't affect my relationship with my Uncle Mitt," McDaniel told CNN.

National reactions: Pundits offered a number of takes on the Romney op-ed. Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah,told the Deseret News the op-ed set the tone for Romney’s arrival in Washington.

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“What is interesting is that this op-ed was sent to a national news organization. He was clearly attempting to address the nation and the world in some way,” Perry said. “Before his first official day on the job Mitt Romney is already shaping the conversation in Washington.”

Jason Nordlinger, an editor at the Nation Review, tweeted that Romney’s move won’t sit well with all conservatives.

“Many, many conservatives will hate Romney for saying these things — not because they think he is wrong but because you're not supposed to say them, and you make others look bad for not saying them. Romney has broken a kind of agreement (a tacit one). Good for him.”

More reactions can be seen in tweets below.