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Called A 'Traitor' By Trump Supporters, Romney Says President 'Disrespected' Voters

Sen. Mitt Romney was called a "joke" and a "traitor" by supporters of President Trump in videos that went viral Tuesday.

But on Wednesday, the Utah Republican directed stronger words at Trump and others in the GOP who falsely suggest the presidential election results were illegitimate.

"I think that the gambit that we are seeing today — very disappointing," Romney told Capitol Hill reporters about many Republican lawmakers' planned objections to the election results. "President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency."

His comments came a day after Romney, a prominent critic of Trump, was confronted by a group at an airport while traveling for Wednesday's joint congressional session in which members are set to take up the Electoral College votes.

Romney was also treated to chants of "traitor" during a plane ride.

"That's sad — something I've gotten used to over the years," Romney told reporters about the exchange. "That's the nature of politics today, unfortunately."

In the airport video, Romney pleads with the individual filming to wear a mask since he says it is required at the airport. The individuals confronting Romney call him a "joke" and berate him for not supporting Trump in his false claims of voter fraud.

"That's not how the Constitution works," Romney told them.

Romney's comments also came as Republicans face tough news of Georgia runoff elections that could potentially give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee linked the Georgia contests to what he views as the costs of spreading disinformation as it relates to election results.

"It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters," Romney said.

The Associated Press has said Democrat Raphael Warnock beat his GOP opponent Kelly Loeffler, while Democrat Jon Ossoff has claimed victory over Republican David Perdue. The AP has not called that race for Ossoff, however.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.