Utah Sen. Mitt Romney greatly expounded Thursday on why he voted to impeach Donald Trump a second time — saying he committed “one of the most reprehensible acts” possible — and warned that those who continue Trump’s “big lie” that the election was stolen threaten the nation.
“I hear many calls for unity. It is apparent that calling for unity while at the same time appeasing the big lie of a stolen election is a fraud,” he wrote in a statement inserted in the Congressional Record. “It is in the service of that lie that a mob invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
The Utah Republican added, “Now that the impeachment trial is behind us, it falls to each of us to affirm what we all know: President Biden won the election through the legitimate vote of the American people. The division in America will only begin to heal in the light of this truth, a truth which must now be affirmed by each of us in this chamber.”
Romney was one of seven Republicans who joined all 50 Democrats to vote to convict Trump last week, but that fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. His vote led some Utah Republicans to push to censure him. In Trump’s first trial, Romney became the first member of Congress in history to vote to impeach a president of his own party.
The senator said the reason why he voted to impeach Trump a second time should not surprise anyone who looked at his reasoning and decision in the first trial, and it is essentially the same.
“I consider an attempt to corrupt an election to keep oneself in power one of the most reprehensible acts that can be taken by a sitting president,” Romney wrote. “The second impeachment resulted from the president’s continued effort to do just that.”
Romney listed some specific acts by Trump that he said deserved impeachment.
“His attempt to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state to falsify the electoral results was itself a heinous act that merited impeachment,” Romney wrote.
“President Trump summoned his supporters to Washington on the very day of the electoral vote count knowing that among the people he gathered were many who had committed violence in the past and who had violent intent,” he said. “He incited and directed thousands to descend upon the seat of Congress as it was undertaking the constitutionally prescribed process to certify his successor.”
He said Trump then not only failed to defend former Vice President Mike Pence and others at the Capitol “who he saw were in mortal danger, he also incited further violence against the vice president” with a tweet criticizing him for not declaring the election in his favor.
“The president’s conduct represents an unprecedented violation of his oath of office and of the public trust,” Romney said. “There is a thin line that separates our democratic republic from an autocracy: It is a free and fair election and the peaceful transition of power that follows it. President Trump attempted to breach that line, again.”
Romney also explained why he believes hold an impeachment trial after Trump left office is constitutional. Many fellow Republicans — including Utah Sen. Mike Lee — have said it was unconstitutional, and used that as a reason to vote against conviction even though many criticized some of Trump’s actions.
“Where the house impeached the president while he was in office, it is particularly clear that the impeachment is constitutional and therefore this trial is constitutional,” Romney wrote.
“”The weight of legal opinion and historical precedent affirms this conclusion,” he said. “The Senate must not surrender its power to hold accountable those who abuse their office or threaten our republic, even in their final days in office.”