Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who voted to convict President Trump for abuse of power last week, claimed on Sunday that he “agonized” over the responsibility that came with his decision and said he had “hoped beyond hope” he would not find President Trump guilty.
Speaking to KSL’s Sunday Edition during the weekend, Romney, who asserted last week that the president “committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor,” said he “agonized over the responsibility that ultimately would come [his] way” and proclaimed that he “hoped beyond hope” he would not find Trump guilty.
“Well, I took my responsibility exactly as the Constitution defines it and as the oath I took requires it,” Romney told KSL’s Doug Wright, again citing his oath before God, “which is what I was sworn before God to apply impartial justice as a Senate juror.”
The Utah senator continued to defend his decision, proclaiming that he “thoroughly studied” the evidence, which moved him to vote to convict the president.
“I agonized over the responsibility that ultimately would come my way,” Romney said. “I hoped beyond hope that I would not have to find him guilty of what had been alleged.”
“They didn’t want to provide any information for those of us who were having a responsibility to provide impartial justice,” Romney said of the refusal to allow additional witnesses to testify.
He also attributed his decision to “family tradition,” citing his dad, whom he described as “a person who stood by his word and did exactly what he thought was right regardless of the consequence.”
“And that is a family tradition which I hold dear,” he said.
“I did believe that I was doing exactly what I swore I would do,” he added.
Romney’s decision to convict the president earned him high praise from high-profile Democrats, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who praised her colleague’s “courage” during Friday’s Democrat debate in New Hampshire.
“There was a lot of courage you saw from very few people,” Klobuchar said. “There was courage from Doug Jones, our friends from Alabama that took that tough vote. There was courage from Mitt Romney, who took a very, very difficult vote”:
Amy Klobuchar knocks idea of being a "cool newcomer": "We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing." https://t.co/Rhy9aOaDTU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/cqusxWYJfl
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2020
Trump has since slammed Romney for his decision, launching a scathing video criticizing the “slick, slippery, stealthy” lawmaker. The president also took a jab at Romney during last week’s prayer breakfast.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said.
However, Romney is not backing down from his decision, telling Sunday Edition, “I hope (Trump) will recognize that there are lines that some people feel he crossed.”
“I am one of those,” he added.