Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, right, departs after the impeachment acquittal of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
UPDATED 3:40 PM PT — Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is facing extreme blowback for his vote to convict President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. Earlier on Wednesday, he alleged President Trump committed abuse of power to stay in office.
“The grave question the Constitution tasked senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor,” stated Romney. “Yes, he did.”
However, he chose to vote against the obstruction charge, the second article of impeachment against President Trump.
The senator announced his decision on the Senate floor ahead of the full chamber vote. He said he feared his place in history, his oath to God and the Constitution more than he feared the wrath of the Republican Party. The failed presidential nominee also acknowledged the possibility of being a GOP pariah after his decision.
“I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath, before God, demanded of me?”
– Mitt Romney, U.S. Senator (R-Utah)
In this image from video, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks on the Senate floor about the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
Sen. Romney was right. Those closest to the president immediately called him out on Twitter.
Donald Trump Jr. said the senator was “forever bitter that he will never be president” and recommended his expulsion from the GOP.
Congressman Lee Zeldin weighed in, saying Romney “absolutely despises that Donald Trump was elected president” and he was not. He went on to say his “sore loser mentality launched this sham impeachment.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized Romney’s vote on Twitter. She said this isn’t the first time she has disagreed with Romney and suggested their tensions may deepen going forward.
She added the president did nothing wrong and the GOP was largely united in his defense.