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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.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What they're saying: Joe Biden defeats President Trump

Joe Biden speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 6. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the U.S., ousting President Trump after a single term, the Associated Press projected on Saturday.

What they're saying: "I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris," Biden said in a statement. "With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal."

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
39 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.