Lincoln Project Refuses to Tone Down Trump Attacks, Says Romney's Plea Is 'Call to Surrender'

The Lincoln Project is not looking to moderate its attacks on President Donald Trump, despite calls for civility from figures such as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Sen. Romney (R-UT) recently spoke of his concern over the state of politics and discourse surrounding the issue in the U.S., calling for people on all sides to "tone it down."

"I respect Mitt Romney and his appeal to civility," Fred Wellman, senior advisor for veterans affairs at The Lincoln Project, a group largely made up of Republicans but who do not wish to see Trump re-elected, told Newsweek.

"I look forward to a day when we can all do that."

But despite this call, Wellman said he does not believe Trump will look to temper his comments, continuing: "However, we can't have any illusions that Donald Trump will do so himself. In fact, he has ratcheted up his pushing of conspiracy theories, disreputable attacks on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and encouraging efforts to undermine the election. Asking organizations to stop their attacks on Trump while he continues his abominable behavior is a call to surrender."

In regards to continuing actions, he said: "We must continue to show the nation who Donald Trump really is and the horrors he has inflicted on this country for the last four years. If civility in politics is what Mr. Romney and his colleagues want then they should help us rid the White House of Donald Trump not tell us to accept his disgusting behavior.

"The high road won't work when your opponent is digging a massive hole right through the middle of the mountain underneath you."

The Lincoln Project has frequently hit out at Trump in ads, and also criticizes him over social media. It is not the first time the group has insisted upon continuing their attacks despite questions over doing so, having rejected the idea of pulling attack adverts about the president when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The president has previously reacted to ads from the group, branding those involved "losers" in retaliation.

With The Lincoln Project set to continue the critiques of Trump, Political Director of Republican Voters Against Trump Tim Miller also said his group was "proud to be fighting aggressively" against Trump.

Miller said he did not necessarily think Romney's comments were a call to tone down attacks on Trump—so said his comments were not a critique against him.

But he said he felt the president is the main driver behind the negative political discourse in the U.S.

"The perpetrator of dehumanizing political rhetoric in our country is Donald Trump, that's where our focus is and should be," he told Newsweek. "His grotesque and divisive behavior has resulted in thousands of republicans and former republicans joining our cause and it's one we are proud to be fighting aggressively."

Romney, in his statement, said that the world was looking on at the U.S. with "abject horror."

"I have stayed quiet with the approach of the election," he said. "But 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."

While a focus has gone towards supporters and opponents of Trump, independent candidate and rapper Kanye West also recently tweeted that there was a "crying need for civility across the board," while he sent a message of support to Trump and the first lady after their COVID-19 diagnoses.

Newsweek has contacted the Trump campaign and Romney for comment.

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President Donald Trump waves as he arrives for a Make America Great Again campaign event at Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa on October 14, 2020. He and rivals have been urged to "lower the heat" amid trading insults in the run up to Election Day. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images
Lincoln Project Refuses to Tone Down Trump Attacks, Says Romney's Plea Is 'Call to Surrender' | Politics