Mitt Romney: ‘There must be a meaningful consequence’ for Trump inciting Capitol attack

Meanwhile, Reps. Blake Moore and John Curtis oppose quick ouster of president.

(Jose Luis Magana | AP file photo) Rioting supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Rep. Blake Moore because the first member of Utah's all-Republican congressional delegation to comment Monday on proposals to oust immediately President Donald Trump, saying that ‘would only divide us even further.’

As Congress moved Monday toward a second impeachment of President Donald Trump or otherwise removing or censuring him, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said that Trump must face a “meaningful consequence” for helping to incite a riot at the Capitol.

“When the president incites an attack against Congress, there must be a meaningful consequence,” Romney said in a short written statement. “We will be considering those options and the best course for our nation in the days ahead.”

That comes after Romney in a Senate speech after the rioting last week said, “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States.”

Roger Stone — a former Trump adviser recently pardoned by Trump on his conviction for lying to Congress — told the Washington Post that he believes Romney will become a main target for the ire of the right-wing nationally and in Utah for his public opposition to the president.

”Activists in that state are already planning civil disobedience anytime and everywhere he attempts to appear in public,” Stone said. “It is their intention to drive Romney out of the state.”

Romney recently was harangued at the Salt Lake City International Airport and on his flight to Washington by Trump supporters.

On Monday, House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will move to impeach Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not seek to remove him under the 25th Amendment by declaring him unfit to serve within 24 hours after the House is expected to pass a resolution encouraging that on Tuesday.

Two other Utah members of Congress — Reps. John Curtis and Blake Moore — also weighed in about the possible impeachment on Monday, with both opposing a quick ouster of Trump.

“I remain firm in my condemnation of the violence in our nation’s Capitol last week and believe there should be consequences for those that played a role, including the President. I would support an impeachment process with hearings, witnesses, and testimony and I would support an appropriately worded censure,” Curtis said.

But, he said, “Unfortunately, a 48-hour impeachment process has no chance of reaching a thoughtful conclusion, holds no consideration for the millions people who have voted for him, and will do nothing to unite the country or answer the many questions needing resolution.”

Moore said, “I look forward to a peaceful transition of power and having a productive relationship with President-elect Biden and his administration. At a time when our nation needs to unite and heal, invoking the 25th Amendment would only divide us even further.”

(Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, walks through Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Sunday January 3, 2021 as the new Congress was sworn in.

Sen. Mike Lee and Reps. Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart have yet to respond to requests for comment on possible impeachement.

Meanwhile, Matthew Basso and Eric A. Hinderaker, history professors at the University of Utah, joined an open letter from more than 300 historians and academics calling for Trump’s impeachment, saying his continuation in office poses “a clear and present danger” to American democracy.

“Since November 2020,” the letter says, “Trump has refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, something no president before him has ever done.”

It adds, “Trump has defied the Constitution and broken laws, norms, practices and precedents, for which he must be held accountable now and after he leaves office. No future president should be tempted by the example of his defiance going unpunished.”

While Lee, Stewart and Owens have yet to comment on the possible ouster of Trump, Lee voted last week against proposals by fellow Republicans to overturn the presidential election by challenging electoral votes. However, Owens and Stewart joined those challenges, and voted to support them even after rioting at the Capitol.

Both Owens and Stewart have tweeted condolences to families of U.S. Capitol officers who died after those violent protests.

For example on Monday, Stewart tweeted about an officer reported to have committed suicide a few days after the riot, “I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of @CapitolPolice Officer Howard Liebengood who selflessly protected our nation’s Capitol Building for nearly 16 years. My prayers go out to his family and friends during this unimaginable time.”

Burgess similarly mourned in a tweet, “My heart breaks for the tragic loss of Officer Liebengood, and my prayers are with his family, loved ones, and the entire @CapitolPolice community. Officer Liebengood’s sacrifice & many years of service will never be forgotten. God bless the brave men and women in law enforcement.”

Of note on MSNBC on Friday, former GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman said he spoke with Owens about violence at the Capitol. “He told me that Antifa was involved in the storming of the Capitol, that we should be looking at Antifa,” a loose collection of left groups, rather than at Trump supporters. Owens’ office did not respond to a request for comment.