A top Salt Lake City newspaper on Wednesday evening lauded Sen. Mitt Romney for “doing the right thing” by voting to remove President Donald Trump from office.
“Mitt Romney could have ducked this one,” wrote the editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune, but the 2012 GOP presidential nominee “couldn’t explain it to his conscience” and “could not avert his eyes from the fact that this president had, without a shadow of a doubt, abused his power as commander and chief.”
The editorial board argued that all Utahns and Americans, “regardless of politics, ideology or religion should be duly impressed with Romney’s decision to follow his heart and his conscience — and his God — in doing the right thing when doing the right thing was difficult.”
Romney, a devout Mormon, frequently invoked his faith in a brief speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon, when he announced his intention to vote in favor of the first House impeachment article charging Trump with abuse of power.
Already a strong Republican critic of the administration, Romney acknowledged the fierce onslaught he expected to receive from his own party as the only GOP lawmaker to break ranks and vote to convict the president.
“I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced,” he said in his prepared remarks. “I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”
The editorial board noted that Romney knew his decision would not change the outcome of the ultimate vote by the Senate — which acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles Wednesday afternoon — and acknowledged that the president “is in a position … to make life very difficult for Romney going forward.”
Romney has been subjected to numerous attacks by the White House and its conservative allies in the hours since casting his vote in the Senate impeachment trial, with the president weighing in Thursday morning.
“Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,” Trump tweeted. “Read the Transcripts!”