President Donald Trump responded to a withering essay by Sen.-elect Mitt Romney by tweeting Wednesday morning that he — unlike the former Massachusetts governor — has "won big" and Romney should instead "be a TEAM player & WIN!"
The president asked in a tweet, " ... is he a Flake? I hope not" — in a reference to Jeff Flake, the outgoing Republican senator from Arizona who has been a severe critic of Trump. "Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful."
Flake tweeted on Tuesday that Romney's op-ed about the president was a "thoughtful piece."
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Trump's take down of Romney, who will be sworn in as the junior senator from Utah, comes after Romney wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday that the president had fallen short of being a moral compass and guiding light for the nation.
"His conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office," Romney wrote.
While Romney listed a few accomplishments of Trump that he liked, including taking on China's trade practices and criminal justice reform, he added that the president has fallen short by failing to "unite us and inspire us to follow 'our better angels'" as past leaders have done.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is Romney's niece, called her uncle's criticism of Trump "disappointing and unproductive."
During the 2016 presidential election, Trump repeatedly attacked Romney, who lost the White House to Barack Obama in 2012, as a "failed presidential candidate," saying that he "choked like a dog" during the race.