With the impeachment trial in the history books, I wonder why Utah’s U.S. Senate delegation was split in their decision. Sen. Mitt Romney, again, sided against the majority of his party. There has been no mention of it from our state party. Other state Republican parties have censured those that voted for impeachment.
This is all I could find from our state party:
Utah GOP executive director Laurel Price tells me they don't have a statement on Romney's vote to convict at this time, adding "I'm not certain about a censure effort just yet."— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) February 14, 2021
“Utah GOP executive director Laurel Price told Forbes they “don’t have a statement at this time” on Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) vote to convict, adding, “I’m not certain about a censure effort just yet.”
Why has our party leadership not said anything? Why does it matter?
We should all agree rioting is wrong. Peaceful protests are a time honored American tradition. When it turns into criminal behavior it is rioting. Black Lives Matter protested racial injustice. A small number of the protesters took to rioting. Protests were good and protected free speech. Rioting was bad.
Many of Donald Trump’s supporters could not accept the outcome of the election and were there to protest the certification of the election. A small number of the protesters took to rioting to prevent the certification.
Protests were good and protected free speech. Rioting was bad.
Granted, Romney was right in the middle of the capitol riot. His life was in danger and was protected by a courageous police officer. He has been the subject of many personal Twitter attacks from Trump. It is also a fact that a majority of Utahns are not Trump supporters so, by voting with the Democrats, Romney could reasonably say he was representing his constituents.
So why did Sen. Mike Lee not vote with the Democrats as well?
Because the whole thing eroded the Constitution. Everything from free speech to due process to impeaching a president who had already been voted out by the voice of the people. It all shredded the Constitution. Both senators took an oath to the constitution. One kept his oath. One didn’t.
Now my question is can we trust the state Republican establishment to protect our constitutional rights?
Will our governor and state elected officials stand up to any potential unconstitutional federal overreach. By remaining silent my feeling is the answer is no. It is not about Trump. It is about the Constitution. It is about our rights to be free from tyranny. Romney failed the test and if our state party does not hold him accountable then they are failing the test as well.
It is time to answer the question are we more anti-Trump than we are pro-Constitution?
It is my opinion that the state Republican Party should move to censure Romney and take away all financial support. They should also immediately find a strong constitutional candidate to start a primary campaign to make sure Mitt is relegated to one term. That is all he needs as I think he has accomplished what he set out to do.
Richard Ott is a physician who has worked in St. George since 2002.