I get the distinct impression that I am not the only one wondering about our distinguished Senator Mitt Romney. When social media accounts broke with voters inappropriately harassing him at airports, one gets the feeling all is not well in the Romney camp. Many voters are left wondering if he understands or reflects some of their serious concerns. Now the Utah Platform Political Action Committee has voted to censure Romney. Why, we must ask, would anyone think this necessary?
The Committee is not the mainstream Utah Republican Party, but an organized group of watchdogs with representatives in every Utah county, that takes responsibility for holding elected representatives accountable for their actions. The committee circulated a petition to censure which gathered thousands of signatures across the state. Among the committee’s stated objections were: “Whereas, at the first impeachment trial, on February 5, 2020, without evidence of a federal crime or misdemeanor and ignoring the unconstitutional House impeachment process, Utah’s junior U.S. Senator Mitt Romney was the lone Republican voting with the Senate Democrats to convict Pres. Trump, becoming the first Senator in 231 years of U.S. presidential history to vote against a President of his own party in an impeachment trial”.
The Committee also noted: “Whereas, on January 26, 2021, after President Trump had concluded his term and left office, Sen. Romney voted together with all of the Senate Democrats to proceed with an unconstitutional Senate show trial (at which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court refused to preside) on the House’s article of impeachment”; and “Romney voted together with all of the Senate Democrats to convict Donald Trump on the House’s impeachment charge”.
The Utah Republican Party itself issued a statement in support of Romney: “The difference between our Utah Republicans showcases a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought’. There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each Senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah. Disagreement is natural and healthy in a party that is based on principles—not on a persona.”
We should all accept that emotions are running high on all sides of these issues. At least half of this country feels that President Trump was shanghaied in a political retributive action that held little purpose. Far from being an act of principle, impeaching a former President seems mired in small-minded political payback.
When looking at both the issues and the divisive political status now gripping our country, it is a legitimate question to wonder how beneficial such actions are. Romney’s justification to convict, posted on his own website, states: “President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state. 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 has cited moral and ethical standards as reasoning for his actions. But is this primarily a moral issue or a legal issue? It is most concerning that Romney and many other Republicans seem to ignore the legal validity of the charges or the malfeasance in the electoral process that Trump alleges. Instead, he has joined the Democrats in lashing out at Trump, making him the whipping boy for the nation’s frustrations. Trump may not have been the most tactful, but what specific actions were illegal? Contrary to a necessary legal procedure, this looks like the denigrating of a persona.
The Utah Republican Party can tout the diversity of thought all they please, but most legal proceedings of this sort are fairly cut and dried. What was done to Trump post-term was unprecedented, unconstitutional, and downright un-American. To offer support to such a callous and irregular undertaking is questionable. When the nation is divided and people everywhere are wondering if their leadership has abandoned them, why contribute to the animus?
While Romney’s responses are understandable from one perspective, it would be wise for the Utah Republican Party, in lockstep with Utah voters, to remind our good Senator that many of his voters support an entirely different side of these issues. After all, he is supposed to be representing all of us. This latest position puts him in the company of other Washington elites that seem to have their own agenda. I, for one, had hoped he would go to Washington to stand up to the swamp, not play nice with them.