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Washington County GOP scolds Romney over his votes to impeach Trump in ‘unconstitutional’ trial

Larry Meyers pushed for sanctions, including a censure, which county Republicans approved.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Mitt Romney, center, and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, right, visit the vaccine clinic at the North Davis Senior Center in March 2021.

Washington County Republicans vented their displeasure with Sen. Mitt Romney on Saturday, approving a resolution censuring him for voting to convict former President Donald Trump during his two impeachment trials.

Saturday’s resolution scolded Romney for voting with Senate Democrats to convict Trump. The resolution defended the former president who was accused of inciting the deadly riot and attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, calling his impeachment an “unconstitutional Senate show trial.”

“Trump supporters and conservative Republicans need to know the Republican Party is going to stand up for its principles and the constitutional process,” said Larry Meyers, a member of the party’s state central committee who wrote Saturday’s resolution.

Some in Utah’s dominant political party have been pushing to punish Romney since Trump’s first impeachment trial in February 2020, but have been unable to find enough support. Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, attempted to introduce a censure of Romney last year, but legislative leaders headed off that effort, opting to send Trump a letter of support.

Shortly before he left office, Trump pardoned Lyman for his role in leading an illegal ATV protest on federal lands.

Meyers, who unsuccessfully ran against Romney for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2018, pushed a similar censure of Romney to Utah GOP’s State Central Committee in March, but there was no special meeting to consider the measure. The Platform Conservatives PAC, of which Meyers is the chairman, approved a censure of Romney with similar language.

“We felt Romney voted based on his politics rather than on the facts, and he needed to be held accountable,” Meyers said.

“President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes,” Romney said after his guilty vote in the second impeachment trial, adding that Trump violated his oath office by failing to protect the Capitol, the vice president and members of Congress.

“Every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction,” added Romney.

Newly elected Washington County GOP Chair Lesa Sandberg said it’s important that delegates had their say on the issue, but it’s time to focus on other issues.

“We’re all ready to move on and get on with the work of the party,” she said. “We have some big goals that we need to accomplish.”

Utah Republicans seem less angry at Romney for his impeachment votes than their compatriots in other states. Several of the senators who joined Romney in voting to convict Trump were immediately rebuked by their state parties, and many of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment are now facing a primary challenge in 2022.

“It’s kind of old news, to be honest,” Sandberg said. “It’s time to move on. If we want to build bridges and be able to still have any influence with Mitt Romney, we can’t hate him.”

There may be another Romney rumble on the horizon. Meyers says there will most likely be another attempt to censure Romney at the party’s state convention May 1.

“I personally wish Mitt Romney would resign so we could have a Republican who respects our values and representing us in the Senate,” Meyers said. “I don’t think he’s going to do that, so we’ll just continue to hold him accountable.”

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