To the sponsors of the resolution to censure Sen. Mitt Romney:
You’re asking the Utah Republican Party to insist that Mitt Romney (a) pledge his allegiance to Donald Trump or (b) resign his Senate seat. I’ve read your pitch and I have some questions.
In your resolution, you wrote:
Whereas, as a candidate, Mitt Romney accepted President Trump’s endorsement and expressed his support for President Trump, which helped him win the U.S. Senate election
Your premise implies that having (a) accepted Trump’s endorsement and (b) expressed support for Trump should have influenced whether Romney voted to acquit or convict Trump on the basis of one or both articles of impeachment.
Is that a fair analysis of your position? If so, are you expressing that Romney’s vote that Trump is guilty of a high crime should be interpreted as the failure to return one political favor with another? If not, why are these facts material to your resolution?
You also wrote:
Whereas, on December 7, 2019, the Utah GOP State Central Committee unanimously passed a resolution of support for President Trump that called on all elected Republican officials to do the same.
Your premise implies that the Utah GOP State Central Committee’s unanimously passed resolution of support for Trump that called on all elected Republican officials to do the same should have influenced whether Romney voted to acquit or convict Trump on the basis of one or both articles of impeachment.
Is that a fair analysis of your position? If so, are you expressing that, rather than form his own impartial conclusions through his independent review of the evidence over the course of the trial, for voting guidance Romney needed to look no further than what the Utah GOP State Central Committee had called on him (as an elected Republican official) to do? If not, why is this fact material to your resolution?
You also wrote:
Whereas, on February 5, 2020, despite zero evidence of a federal crime committed or any wrongdoing that rises to the level of removal of office, Senator Romney voted to convict and remove President Trump from office, becoming the only Republican to vote with the Democrats
The issue was a U.S. president (Trump) leveraging taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress to provide military aid to an ally (Ukraine) at war with Russia in order to obtain a political favor.
Your premise implies that the act at issue (leveraging those funds to that end), if established beyond a reasonable doubt, doesn’t represent wrongdoing rising to the level of removal from office.
Is that a fair analysis of your position? If so, why do you believe that leveraging military aid (that Ukraine needed in order to resist our common geopolitical adversary) in order to obtain an announced investigation (that Trump wanted in order to damage his personal political adversary) doesn’t represent wrongdoing rising to the level of removal from office?
Your premise also implies that there is zero evidence supporting the conclusion that Trump leveraged those funds to that end.
Is that a fair analysis of your position? If so, what is your rebuttal to the argument Romney presented in support of his conclusion? Specifically, in light of the evidence presented in the impeachment trial, how do you defend a reasonable degree of doubt that Trump leveraged those funds to that end? What alternative hypothesis, based on its consistency with the evidence, justifies transferring more than a few points of probability from the hypothesis supporting Romney’s conclusion?
I look forward to your answers to these questions.
Brad C. Barth, Salt Lake City, is a native Utahn who values independence and pragmatism in our local leaders.