Mitt Romney Will Vote to Convict President Trump

U.S. Senate

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced Wednesday that he will break ranks with Senate Republicans by voting to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.

“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,” Romney said during his Senate floor speech.

The Utah Republican accused the president of withholding U.S. security assistance to Ukraine for his own “personal” benefit, arguing that he would not have asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July to review allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden if it did not help him, politically.

“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault under electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values,” he declared.

Romney became visually emotional before revealing his verdict before the upper chamber.

“I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential,” said the senator.

The Utah Republican previewed his vote in an interview conducted Tuesday, telling The Atlantic that it was the “most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life.” Shortly after announcing his vote, Romney kicked off a media blitz with Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace  — the network’s toughest critic of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Romney’s decision sparked a firestorm of criticism, even prompting some of President Trump’s most vocal surrogates to call for the Utah lawmaker to be ejected from the Republican Party.

“Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now,” tweeted Donald Trump Jr.

“This is not the first time I have disagreed with Mitt, and I imagine it will not be the last,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is Romney’s niece, tweeted out. “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,” she added.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wrote: “Mitt Romney is a sore loser.”

“Mitt Romney absolutely despises that Donald Trump was elected POTUS & he was not. The sore loser mentality launched this sham impeachment & corruptly rigged & jammed it through the House. It looks like Schiff recruited himself a sore loser buddy on the GOP side to play along,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

Romney’s announcement comes after two other moderate Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — said that they will vote to acquit the president.

“I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances,” Murkowski said in her Senate floor speech, adding that the president’s removal would amount to “the political death penalty.”

“The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong. His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation,” she added.

“It was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice President Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival,” Collins said in a separate statement, noting: “I do not believe the House has met its burden of the showing the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of removal from office.”

The Senate is expected to vote to acquit the president in the coming hours.

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