SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney scolded a Michigan Democrat for referring to President Donald Trump with a vulgar term, just days after assailing the president's character.
Hours after being sworn in, Rep. Rashida Tlaib told a crowd of supporters at a bar, "We're gonna go in there and we're going to impeach the mother (expletive)."
"Rep. Tlaib took the politics of Washington deeper down the drain. Elected leaders should elevate, not degrade, our public discourse," Romney said on Twitter.
The Utah Republican's rebuke came just days after he assailed what he sees as Trump's failure to help unite a fractured country in a Washington Post op-ed. Though he didn't resort to name calling or profanity, Romney said that Trump has not risen to the mantle of his office.
“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.
Fellow Republicans, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee and former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor, criticized Romney's comments as hurting the GOP and himself.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., jumped on board Friday with his own Washington Post op-ed, writing that Romney played right into the hands of the "mainstream media and Democrats" who want to hurt the party.
"Jeff Flake filled that role before his retirement; the last thing we need now in the Senate is a Jeff Flake on steroids. We certainly don’t need more distractions. We need constructive leaders who want to get things done," he wrote.
Perdue wrote the Republicans are going to change the nation's direction for the better and Romney needs to join them.
"We are on track to restore economic opportunity, fiscal responsibility, limited government and individual liberty. I hope Romney, who plans to caucus with Republicans, will reconsider continuing his harmful behavior as he begins his Senate career," he said.
Lee earlier this week said Romney might want to take a "mulligan" on his comments. Attacking the president, he said, from the get-go isn't helpful.
Meantime, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., defended Tlaib on Saturday.97 comments on this story
"Republican hypocrisy at its finest: saying that Trump admitting to sexual assault on tape is just 'locker room talk,' but scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar," she tweeted.
"GOP lost entitlement to policing women’s behavior a long time ago. Next," she added.
Romney did not excuse Trump's behavior revealed in the "Access Hollywood" video, and cited it among the reasons he would not vote for him in 2016.
"Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world," Romney tweeted then.