SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney is again facing censure from his fellow Republicans stemming from his votes to impeach President Donald Trump.
State delegates to the Utah Republican Party are to consider a resolution at the party convention on Saturday to censure Romney and praise the rest of Utah’s federal delegation in connection with the Trump impeachment process. It’s one of a handful of measures party leaders are to consider, aside from voting for new party leadership.
“We’ll debate it. We’ll let Republicans decide if Mitt Romney should be held accountable,” said Don Guymon, sponsor of the resolution and a Republican delegate to the convention from Davis County.
Utah Republicans debated the notion of censuring Romney earlier this year after the second Trump impeachment trial in February, but ultimately shied from any sort of official of rebuke. Romney voted for impeachment in the first Trump trial on Feb. 5, 2020, the only GOPer to do so, and again in the second trial on Feb. 13, one of only seven GOPers to do so.
Guymon said Romney’s impeachment votes “caused harm to our party, our country and ultimately the U.S. Constitution.” More specifically, he maintains that Romney’s vote for impeachment last year and his critical talk of Trump figured in the Republican Party losing control of the U.S. Senate in voting last year and the special runoff elections in Georgia earlier this year.
Romney’s office on Wednesday didn’t have any immediate reaction. State party officials didn’t immediately respond to a query seeking comment.
The proposed resolution charges that Trump was denied due process in each of the two impeachment trials, which ultimately fell short of the votes needed. Guymon maintains that neither process met constitutional requirements and that Romney’s votes to impeach serve as a tacit endorsement for “a process that was flawed.” Aside from censure, the proposed resolution spells out no other specific sort of punishment, saying only that the document should be sent to the media and other state GOPers and be posted on the Utah Republican Party website and social media sites.
Though Romney seems to be the main focus of the proposed resolution, the measure also cites the rest of Utah’s federal delegation, but in laudatory terms. It calls for thanking Sen. Mike Lee “for his votes to protect due process and the U.S. Constitution by voting against the unconstitutional charges.” It also thanks U.S. Reps. Chris Stewart, John Curtis, Blake Moore and Burgess Owens “for voting against the Democrats’ politically motivated articles of impeachment.”
Lee, a Republican, voted against impeachment in both trials. Stewart, Curtis, Moore and Owens, all Republicans, voted against impeachment when faced with the impeachment measures in the House.
When faced with the notion of censuring Romney earlier this year, the Utah Republican Party ultimately issued a statement steering clear of any sort of direct criticism of Romney. Instead, it lauded the “diversity of thought” among Utah Republicans.
“Our senators have both been criticized for their vote,” reads the Feb. 15 statement, posted at UtahPolicy.com. “The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase 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.”
Still, Romney’s votes don’t sit well with some Utah GOPers, as evidenced by the proposed resolution to be debated on Saturday and a statement issued March 8 by the Platform Republicans PAC, a group of conservative GOPers.
That March statement called Romney’s votes “unjust and unethical” and Larry Meyers, the head of the group, warned of the harm Romney caused “to the Republican brand.” Meyers, a Republican Party delegate to Saturday’s convention from Washington County, is a co-sponsor of Guymon’s resolution.
Four Utah County Republicans are also co-sponsors, Phill Wright, Lisa Shepherd, Cristy Young Hooley and John Morris. The other co-sponsors are Marilee Meyers of Washington County and Kelly Strebel and David Pyne, both of Salt Lake County.