Utah Republicans seem ready to forgive Mitt Romney and move on.
State legislators will not censure or recall Sen. Romney (R-UT) for voting to convict President Donald Trump for “abuse of power” earlier this month, The Hill reported. Instead of punishing Romney, Utah Republicans will pass a generic resolution praising Trump.
Utah GOP backs down
Sen. Romney invited the wrath of President Trump and many Republicans when he became the only member of the GOP to break ranks in the final impeachment vote — and the first senator in history to vote for the ousting of a president from his party, the Washington Examiner noted. Romney said that his conscience and his faith guided his decision, but Trump and his allies have said Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama, was simply jealous of President Trump’s success.
Some Republicans in Utah even suggested formally censuring Romney. Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman (R) floated a resolution to rebuke the senator, and a proposal from Rep. Tim Quinn (R) allowing Utahns to recall federal lawmakers, which was introduced before Romney’s vote, also received more attention as anger against the senator stirred.
But after discussing the matter Tuesday, Utah House Republicans have decided to move on from the impeachment drama with a citation thanking Trump for “for all the great things he’s done for the state of Utah,” Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) said, according to Deseret News.
“Many people disagree with the conclusion Sen. Romney came to, and I think what we can kind of conclude from this conversation is we’re going to agree to disagree,” Wilson said, according to the newspaper. “We understand the thoughtful process Sen. Romney went through. Many people disagree with it, and we think it’s probably time to move on.”
Senate President Stuart Adams (R), who suggested the citation, said that “we’re looking for things that are positive and this citation is positive.”
Left-wing group praises Romney
While Romney’s vote alienated him from many in the GOP, the senator has received lavish tributes from some of Trump’s top foes in the media and the Democratic Party. The left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah praised Romney’s “courage” and slammed Utah Republicans’ citation as proof that they are afraid of a “bully” in Trump.
“Following Senator Romney’s courageous vote, Speaker Wilson and Senate President Adams are deeply fearful that President Trump will retaliate against the entire state of Utah out of petty vindictiveness,” Alliance president Chase Thomas wrote in a statement Wednesday, according to The Hill. “This desperate attempt to mitigate the fallout from Sen. Romney’s vote is not normal or acceptable behavior.
“History will remember the courage of Sen. Romney in honoring his sacred constitutional oath,” Thomas added, according to Deseret.
In the days since his acquittal, Trump has repeatedly attacked Romney as a sore loser who used his faith as a “crutch” to get back at Trump out of spite. The president called Romney a “disgrace” this week, according to Fox, and urged Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to take him back, saying: “We don’t want him.”
But Senate Republicans are ready to move on, according to multiple media reports. It looks like, for now, Romney is out of the dog house — just not with Trump.