Utah GOP defends Romney amid criticism over impeachment vote

February 16, 2021 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Republican Party has defended Sen. Mitt Romney after an online motion accused him of misrepresenting himself as a Republican and embarrassing the state by voting against former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trials.

Hundreds of people have signed the document being circulated on social media. It says Romney failed to “represent the average conservative Utah Republican voter” by voting to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial, among other complaints.

In response, the Utah Republican Party issued a statement Monday that defended both Romney and Sen. Mike Lee, who voted to acquit Trump, KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City reported.

“The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought,’” the statement read. “There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.”

Romney said in a statement after his vote Saturday that Trump had violated his oath of office and deserved to be convicted under the House’s impeachment charge.

“President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state,” Romney’s statement said. “President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes. He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day.”

Six other GOP senators voted to convict Trump on Saturday. Romney also voted to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial, in which Trump was accused of pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election.

There have been rumblings among Utah Republicans about censuring Romney, which state parties have done in other places after lawmakers voted against Trump.

Brandon Beckham, a GOP State Central Committee member, told KUTV-TV that he would vote to censure Romney for his vote in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Beckham started a resolution against the senator after his vote in the first impeachment trial.