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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the Republican Party "has taken a different course" from its core values in recent years.

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent critic of President Trump. He was the only Republican to vote to convict the president during the impeachment trial in the Senate earlier this year.

  • The 2012 GOP presidential nominee conceded he represents "a very small slice of the Republican party today."

What he's saying: "The party that I knew was very concerned about Russia and Putin and Kim Jong-un and North Korea, and we pushed back aggressively against them," Romney said. "We were a party concerned about balancing the budget. We believed in trade with other nations."

  • "We were happy to play a leadership role on the world stage because we felt that made us safer and more prosperous, and we believed that character was essential in the leaders we chose."
  • "We strayed from that. I don't see us returning to that for a long time."

Yes, but: Romney stopped short of saying he would ever leave the party, instead saying he is "more effective" being in the party while trying to return it to its original values.

  • "I think ultimately the Republican party will return to the roots that have been formed over — well, the century."

Worth noting: Romney said he doesn't see the party's nominee for the presidency in 2024 returning it to its core values, because most of the people vying for the spot "are trying to become as much like Donald Trump as they can be."

  • "Although I must admit that his style and shtick, if you will, is difficult to duplicate. He is an extraordinarily talented person from that standpoint."

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump becomes first president to be impeached twice

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week while Congress met to count the Electoral College vote.

Why it matters: Trump is now the only president in history to have been impeached twice — his first impeachment happened just over a year ago in December of 2019. He has just one week left in his term before President-elect Biden is sworn-in on Jan. 20.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."