Former President Trump slammed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Wednesday, accusing him of "abusing" his Utah colleague Sen. Mike Lee (R) following news that Romney has refrained from issuing an endorsement in Lee's reelection campaign.
"Mike Lee is an outstanding Senator who has been abused, in an unprecedented way, by a fellow Republican Senator from his own State, something which rarely has happened in political History," Trump said in a statement issued through his Save America PAC.
"Such an event would only be understandable if Mike did not perform his duties as a United States Senator, but he has, and he has performed them well," the former president continued.
Lee, who is in a tight race with Independent challenger Evan McMullin, appealed to Romney on Tuesday evening during a conversation with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, asking his colleague to help him win.
“Well, I’ve asked him. I’m asking him right here, again, tonight, right now. Mitt, if you’d like to protect the Republican majority, give us any chance of seizing the Republican majority, once again, getting it away from the Democrats, who are facilitating this massive spending spree in a massive inflationary binge, please get on board,” Lee said.
In his appeal, Lee mentioned that the contest between himself and McMullin, a former CIA officer, was getting tighter. According to nonpartisan handicapper Cook Political Report, the race is rated "likely Republican." However, recent polling shows that McMullin is closing the gap.
For his part, Romney said he's refrained from making an endorsement because he is friends with both Lee and McMullin, who left the Republican party in 2016 after Trump won the party's presidential nomination, and ran against him as an Independent.
“I’ve worked with Mike a lot and appreciate the work we do together. But both are good friends, and I’m going to stay out,” Romney said in a statement to The Hill.
Romney also caught Trump's ire after he voted to convict the former president of one count during his first impeachment trial and has been a critic of the Trump administration in the past. Trump has called Romney a "super RINO," or "Republican in name only."
On Wednesday, Trump said that McMullin did not represent the values of Utah, "but neither, as you will see in two years, does Mitt Romney, who refuses to endorse his fellow Republican Senator, Mike Lee."
"Mike Lee is outstanding and has my Complete and Total Endorsement. Mitt Romney and Evan McMuffin can count on the fact that they will never have my Endorsement!," he concluded.