Republican Senator Mitt Romney put out an impassioned call for civility and respect in our current political discourse. It went about as well as something like that can go nowadays, which is to say: extremely poorly.
In a statement on Twitter, the Utah Senator decried the "morass" that our politics has become, and, perhaps predictably, placed the blame on both sides of the political spectrum.
Suffice to say, his statement was not warmly welcomed by others on Twitter.
My thoughts on the current state of our politics: https://t.co/oYY4zlX6ZP— Mitt Romney (@Mitt Romney)1602599455.0
In his statement, Romney opened by expressing his worry over the political state of the nation.
"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 nations--let alone the birthplace of modern democracy."
Few would disagree with that assessment, but it's a strange point to make, given that American politics have been "vituperative" and combative for decades.
This is, after all, the country where members of the then-opposition party were caught emailing cartoons to each other that depicted Barack and Michelle Obama as apes on more than one occasion. This "vituperative, hate-filled morass" is not exactly new or unique to the Trump era.
Romney's statement went on to lay into the President for calling Kamala Harris a "monster" and Nancy Pelosi "crazy," for demanding that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton be imprisoned, and for having recently attacked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer just days after a plot to kidnap and execute her was thwarted by the FBI.
But the Senator's statement then went on to cite actions on behalf of Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Keith Olbermann, along with the media, and placed them on equal footing with Trump's attacks.
"Pelosi tears up the President's State of the Union speech on national television. Keith Olbermann calls the President a "terrorist." Media on the left and right amplify all of it."
Romney then went on to remind readers that the world, and our children, are watching the way we are behaving, before issuing a sobering warning.
"The consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place. No sane person can want that."
Few would likely argue with that closing line.
But the rest felt to many like false equivalencies. Pelosi tearing up pieces of paper and an obscure commentator calling the President a terrorist on YouTube are hardly on par with the President using the full force of the presidency to attack his rivals, after all.
And given its timing--amidst the contentious confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett--many felt the statement was little more than a tone-deaf and ham-fisted attempt to justify his commitment to confirming a nominee than even some Republicans are finding difficult to justify.
All in all, Twitter was simply not having any of it.
In which @MittRomney invokes a @KeithOlbermann YouTube video and the President of the United States calling for his… https://t.co/jMHMp68V9M— Andrew Feinberg (@Andrew Feinberg)1602599854.0
the politics are just too vile, that's why i must confirm amy coney barret and ram through her politically-charged… https://t.co/vRFS8WUMGT— jordan (@jordan)1602602123.0
This is some pretty wild whataboutism. https://t.co/Ry6SeerTHp— Eyes on the Right (@Eyes on the Right)1602607815.0
TLDR: President says some awful things, but so too did Keith Olbermann on youtube. Both sides. Still not endorsing… https://t.co/AZ56Y69eSv— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan)1602602335.0
Name a more useless politician than Mitt Romney https://t.co/ZJWvDCditN— Will Chamberlain (@Will Chamberlain)1602599559.0
Both-sides much, Senator? You've had the power to do actually do something about this out-of-control presidency, an… https://t.co/2chln0EOV6— Eric Swalwell (@Eric Swalwell)1602603952.0
The fact that @MittRomney included Keith Olbermann in this statement just shows how silly his "it's both sides!" ap… https://t.co/11khEaBDEO— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky)1602600546.0
A malignantly racist, sexist, narcissistic POTUS delivering a State of the Union address that's literally full of l… https://t.co/ewsRtztlTH— Laura Bassett (@Laura Bassett)1602605666.0
Hey, at least he tried.