Romney says Trump must be held accountable for attempted insurrection

Utah Republican senator also questions need for President Biden’s coronavirus rescue plan

(Screengrab | Grabien) Sen. Mitt Romney argues former President Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense by inciting an attempted insurrection during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.

Sen. Mitt Romney said Sunday that he agrees with the calls from both Republicans and Democrats for “unity” following the inauguration of President Joe Biden, but he stressed the only way to get there is to hold former President Donald Trump and others accountable for the attempted insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“If we’re going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice,” said Romney, who made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, appearing as a guest on CNN’s State of the Union and Fox News Sunday.

“What is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?” he asked.

This week the Senate is expected to take up the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump for inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempted insurrection as Congress was certifying Electoral College votes. That was after Trump and his allies repeatedly lied that the election was fraudulent and had been stolen from him.

Romney said the article of impeachment passed by the House in the wake of the storming of the Capitol suggests impeachable conduct by Trump. Romney also pointed to the infamous phone call where Trump pushed Georgia election officials to overturn his loss to Biden in that state and a recent report that Trump plotted to fire the acting attorney general and install a loyalist more open to his fantastical claims of election fraud.

“It’s pretty clear over the past year there has been an effort to corrupt the election in the United States, and it was not by President Biden, it was by President Trump,” he said.

Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial last year but was noncommittal when asked if he was open to convicting Trump a second time.

“I’ll listen to the arguments both by the prosecution as well as by the defense. We haven’t heard those yet. I will make a decision based upon the facts of the evidence as it’s presented,” said Romney.

Sen. Mitt Romney threw cold water on the push to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package Sunday morning, arguing the price tag is “shocking.”

“I think at this early stage, just having passed over $900 billion in relief, before we were to pass a new program, we need to understand where the money is going,” said Romney. “How has that money been distributed? Most of it hasn’t yet. What impact will that have.”

“If we didn’t recognize a particular problem, we should focus on that and provide additional resources that are necessary,” he added.

Romney was headed to the White House on Sunday afternoon with other members of Congress to hear the Biden administration’s pitch for another stimulus package.

“The idea we need another stimulus is a little hard to understand. I believe the economy is going to come roaring back and borrowing billions of dollars from the Chinese is not necessarily the best thing we can do to get our economy to strong long term,” he said.

Now that President Trump is out of office, Romney said he thinks the GOP will abandon the rhetoric and politics of Trump while continuing to appeal to working-class Americans.

“I think our party is going to return to some of our more fundamental principles, which is fiscal responsibility, believing in the importance of character, standing with our allies and pushing back against people like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. But we also need to communicate more effectively to working men and women that our policies are best designed to help them and give their families a better future,” he said.