Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) issued a statement on Tuesday calling on political leaders to tone down hateful rhetoric ahead of the election, arguing that the "rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters" to take "dangerous action"— such as the kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

What he's saying: "Leaders must tone it down," he urged. "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 big picture: Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, singled out President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and commentator Keith Olbermann, while praising Joe Biden for refusing "to stoop as low as others."

  • "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 the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her," Romney said.
  • "The rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters who take the small and predictable step from intemperate word to dangerous action. The world is watching America with abject horror."

The bottom line: "It is time to lower the heat. Leaders must tone it down … The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that," Romney concluded.

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