Mitt Romney votes to remove President Trump

WASHINGTON – Saying the president committed “an appalling abuse of the public trust,” Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney voted to convict President Donald Trump on the first article of impeachment, becoming the first senator ever to vote against his own party’s president in an impeachment trial. 

“This verdict is ours to render,” Romney said in his speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the historic vote. “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’ Yes, he did.”

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was elected to the Senate in 2018 from Utah. 

Romney acknowledged that his vote would not affect the outcome of the trial. The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit on the first article, and 53-47 on the second. Romney voted to acquit on the second charge, obstruction of Congress. Opponents needed 67 of the 100 senators to remove Trump from office. 

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, arrives before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

Trump can tout the acquittal, but Romney’s defection makes it harder for the president to claim total vindication from impeachment which he often describes as a partisan witch hunt and a “hoax.”

If any GOP senator were going to defy the president, it was Romney. The Utah senator has often clashed with Trump, calling him a “fraud” and a “phony” when Trump was running in 2016 for president.

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