After four months of fractious trial and inquiry on impeachment, US President, Donald Trump is back to facing his perceived political opponent.
One of them is his fellow party man, Mitt Romney.
Romney who is a serving lawmaker has a hot-and-cold relationship with the president. Having rallied against Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 Republican presidential party, he embraced him when he won the Oval Office.
The duo has however agreed and disagreed on various issues.
Romney had voted against the President during his impeachment trial which he had already said he would do.
Reacting after being acquitted, Trump tweeted: “Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election. Read the Transcripts”
Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election. Read the Transcripts!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Although the outcome of the trial was pre-ordained, in the final hours leading up to the 4 p.m. vote, Romney broke ranks with his party and vote to convict the president on the abuse of power charge.
The Republican senator was the only the party member to do so in a move that stunned Capitol Hill.
“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 “high crime and misdemeanor,’ Romney said ahead of the vote. ‘Yes, he did.’
He, however, voted to acquit on the obstruction of Congress charge.
Definitely, the decision taken by Romney will deny Trump a talking point he desperately coveted – that all Republicans stood by him in his hour of need.
Meanwhile, Democrats did not lose a single vote despite speculation that red-state Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Doug Jones of Alabama could side with the president.
To do so would have allowed Trump to brag about a bipartisan acquittal.
With the trio announcing on Wednesday that they would vote to convict, Trump has been denied that talking point too.
Speaking over his decision, Romney acknowledged he would face the fury of the president and he pre-taped an interview with Fox News, that ran shortly after his speech on the Senate floor, to explain his decision. The president is a frequent viewer of Fox News.
Romney, a deeply-religious Mormon, cited his faith as the reason behind his decision.
At times he choked up on the Senate floor during his remarks, pausing and taking deep breathes before he continued.
‘The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a senator juror, I swore an oath before god to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced,’ he said in his remarks on the Senate floor.
Romney handled the impeachment trial carefully and was one of two Republicans who voted with Democrats to call additional witnesses which failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. This paved the way for smooth sailing for the President.