Utahns rally to support Mitt Romney for Trump impeachment vote

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Caroline Phinney joins others gathered in support of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, after he voted to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power. The Utah senator was the only Republican to vote guilty on the first article of impeachment.

More than 50 people showed up in sub-freezing temperatures Wednesday in downtown Salt Lake City to thank Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for his vote to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.

The last-minute gathering outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building came together in the hours after news of Romney’s vote broke.

Romney was the only Republican who voted against the president.

Claudia Heath, a Democrat from Midvale, carried a sign thanking Romney and declaring, “Conscience is not dead!”

She said Romney’s speech explaining his vote “touched her” and that it was exactly the sort of thing she’d like to hear from her lawmakers.

“I think he did the country a favor today by showing what integrity looks like,” she said.

Joanne Slotnik, a co-founder of the bipartisan Salt Lake Indivisible, said Romney’s vote proved that he valued country over party — and that he has a spine “made of steel.”

“I would disagree with Sen. Romney on many, many policy issues and substantive issues," Slotnik said, “but I admire him enormously for the strength of character it took to do what he did today. That was not an easy thing to do.”

Supporters also gathered Wednesday in Provo, home to Romney’s alma mater Brigham Young University. They stood on a sidewalk facing the streets with signs saying “True Mitt," “This Mormon Mom Says Thank You, Mitt!” and simply “Thank You, Mitt.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Diana Browning, Portland, OR, dances as she holds a sign during a rally in Provo, to thank Mitt Romney for voting to convict President Trump, in the impeachment vote, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

At the Salt Lake City rally, organizer Jamie Carter told attendees that while the event was meant to thank Romney, it was also a call to action for attendees.

If the Senate wouldn’t vote to remove Trump from office, she said, the people must act to do it on the voting day.

“Get out there. Register voters. Get involved with the [political] organizations. Volunteer with your favorite candidate. Knock doors. Phone bank,” Carter said. "And make sure all of your friends and neighbors go to the polls with you.”