Trump and other Republicans slam Romney over impeachment vote

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) explained to the Senate why he plans to vote to convict President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, calling Trump's actions "an appalling abuse of public trust."

Posted: Feb 7, 2020 1:50 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 1:50 AM

Sen. Mitt Romney's vote on Wednesday to convict President Donald Trump on one of the articles of impeachment not only rankled his fellow Republicans but also led his niece, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, to publicly disagree with him.

Romney's decision came as a surprise to his Republican Senate colleagues and was swiftly met with condemnation from the President and many of his allies.

"Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election," Trump wrote in an overnight tweet, referring to Romney's 2012 bid. "Read the Transcripts!"

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel distanced herself from her uncle, as she has previously done when Romney has criticized Trump.

"This is not the first time I have disagreed with Mitt, and I imagine it will not be the last," McDaniel tweeted. "The bottom line is President Trump did nothing wrong, and the Republican Party is more united than ever behind him. I, along with the @GOP, stand with President Trump."

The Utah Republican Party tweeted its own criticism of the junior senator from the Beehive State later on Wednesday.

"The Utah Republican Party is pleased to see President Trump completely acquitted by the United States Senate," the party said in a post from its account. "We appreciate the service rendered to our state by Utah's two senators. As a party, we strongly disagree with the vote cast today by Senator Romney.

"We stand firmly behind our President, whose policies have created unprecedented levels of American prosperity. The impeachment effort has served only to distract America from the serious issues we face, and in November voters will hold Democrats accountable for this distraction."

Vice President Mike Pence called Romney's decision a "disappointment" during an interview on radio's "The Lars Larson Show" but added that "at the end of the day it makes no difference."

Donald Trump Jr. mocked Romney over his decision in a series of tweets, calling him "bitter" and saying he should be expelled from the Senate Republican conference. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, who said last month that Romney would not be invited to the conservative conference because of his support of witness testimony, also mocked Romney on Twitter Wednesday.

Frustration among Senate colleagues

Romney did not tell any colleagues about his decision in advance of his announcement Wednesday. Although some Republicans have publicly said the Utah senator's vote was a personal choice and one they generally respect, behind the scenes there was significant frustration with his decision.

"I'll give him this: professional rollout," one GOP senator told CNN. "Not very collegial, but very professional."

A bigger issue, several GOP aides said, was the possibility Romney's decision would step on the headline of the President's acquittal in the media.

"All you guys are going to lead with Romney," one senior GOP aide said. "Not the fact the President was acquitted and is through with this."

When reporters asked Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker just minutes after the vote to react, Wicker replied: "This is his hour."

Another GOP aide guessed that Romney wasn't having "much fun" right now.

Mike Lee, Utah's other Republican senator, didn't name Romney in a tweet Wednesday evening but seemed to send a clear message.

"Congratulations @realDonaldTrump. I'm looking forward to your next five years in office. Those who voted to remove you were wrong. Very wrong," Lee said.

Before the vote, members of GOP leadership had projected confidence that Romney would vote with them, only to be surprised watching his announcement on TV.

Romney had stood apart from his Republican colleagues in the past week, as his pleas in closed-door meetings for witnesses and documents were largely scoffed at and ignored, according to people in the room.

Romney announced in a Senate floor speech Wednesday afternoon that he would vote to convict the President on an abuse of power charge levied by House Democrats. He voted not guilty on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.

"The grave question the Constitution tasks 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. Yes, he did," the Utah Republican said on the Senate floor. "Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine."

Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, told reporters ahead of Wednesday's vote that he thought senators would accept Romney's decision and continue to work with him despite his vote.

"You know, in the conference, he's somebody who we all know is a very independent person and, obviously, you know, we're going to continue to work with him," said Thune, the second-ranking senator in GOP leadership. "There is always another day and another vote, and you may not have everybody on every vote. Sometimes you just have to play the next game when it comes along. So we'll be prepared for whatever comes next. And so will he, and I'm sure that the members of our conference will continue to work with him and accept his point of view."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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