Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) bid to stand independently from his party’s nominal leader may prove quite costly in terms of his political career.
A petition has been circulating among Utah Republicans that demands a formal censure of Romney in response to his votes to convict former President Donald Trump in both impeachment trials as well as his efforts to undermine the former president, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The effort to formally reprimand Romney is not backed by Utah party leaders but was launched by the voters who make up the party base. Utah GOP chairman Derek Brown told the Tribune that, in his view, “the best censure occurs at the ballot box.”
In fact, the state party leaders issued a statement heralding the “diversity” of opinion toward Trump, as evidenced by Romney’s vote to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol building riot while Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) voted to acquit the former president of the charge.
Petition calls Romney an embarrassment
It is unclear exactly who started the petition or how many Utah Republicans have signed it, but it slams Romney for having “failed” to represent the average conservative Utah Republican voter, and for having “misrepresented himself as a Republican.”
Further, Romney “prioritized his personal and political vendetta against President Donald J. Trump ahead of the Constitution of the United States, the interest of We, the People, and the advancement of the Republican Platform.”
The petition also asserted that Romney “embarrassed” Utahns by voting to convict Trump in the first impeachment trial, by voting against a bid to dismiss the second trial as unconstitutional, for supporting the calling of witnesses in the trial, and for voting that Trump was guilty in the second trial, all of which violated Trump’s “1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment Rights.”
On top of all of that, the petition accused Romney of having used his “senatorial power and influence to undermine” Trump and of having “condoned false and misleading statements” against the former president.
Finally, the petition stated that Romney “fails to ensure election integrity and continues to condemn those who do” and noted that “the Utah Republican Party leadership has failed to issue a censure.”
Others facing censure
Seven Republican senators crossed the aisle and joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump, and of those seven, Romney is not alone in facing sharp backlash from either constituents or party leaders in the form of censures and reprimands.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was formally censured and condemned for his guilty vote by the Louisiana GOP while Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was likewise censured by a number of county-level GOP organizations. Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is expected to face a formal censure vote by the North Carolina GOP next week.
The Tribune noted that Romney will face his first bid for reelection in 2024. Whether his concerted opposition of former President Trump will still be a dominant factor on voters’ minds is something that remains to be seen.