The only senator from either party to break with their party in Wednesday's impeachment trial verdict was Sen. Mitt Romney, who incurred the wrath of more than one Donald Trump with his vote to convict the president of abuse of power. In one of several anti-Romney tweets, President Trump shared a video that accused the Republican senator of being a "secret Democrat asset" who had tried to infiltrate his administration. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Romney "is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS" and "was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. " Trump Jr. said Romney is now a "member" of the resistance and should be kicked out of the GOP. On Instagram, he slammed Romney for wearing "mom jeans." More:
- McConnell is "disappointed." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was "disappointed" and "surprised" by Romney's vote, but he would still seek his support in the Senate, the Hill reports. "We've got a lot more votes to cast between now and November, and I'm going to need his support on a whole variety of things that are important to the president and to the country," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity.
- Romney's own niece criticizes him. Romney's niece, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, made it clear she did not support his decision, the Washington Post reports. "This is not the first time I’ve disagreed with Mitt, and I imagine it will not be the last," she said. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who worked for the Romney campaign in 2012, described him as one of the president's "political opponents" and a "failed Republican presidential candidate."
- A historic first. The vote made Romney the first senator in American history to vote to convict a president from his own party after an impeachment trial, reports Slate. Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were acquitted without any Democratic votes to convict. Romney voted to convict Trump of abuse of power but voted to acquit him on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.
- Romney cited religion. When he announced his intention to vote for conviction in a speech on the Senate floor, the senator cited his Mormon faith. "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," Romney said. "I take an oath before God as enormously consequential." He said Trump's actions involving Ukraine were "grievously wrong."
- Red state Democrats didn't defect. Trump was denied a bipartisan acquittal vote after three Democrats from GOP-leaning states voted with their party, Politico reports. Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, and Doug Jones, who faces a re-election battle in Alabama this year, had been considered possible pro-Trump votes.
- "Enormous consequences." Romney told the New York Times before the vote that he realized there would be "enormous consequences" in store after the vote. "I don’t want to be the skunk at the garden party, and I don’t want the disdain of Republicans across the country," he said.
- Support in Utah. Romney is the junior senator from Utah, and some Utahns praised his decision Wednesday. Supporters held rallies in Provo and Salt Lake City to thank Romney after the vote. "All Utahns ... should be duly impressed with Romney’s decision to follow his heart and his conscience—and his God—in doing the right thing when doing the right thing was difficult," wrote the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- Party wants Trump to move on. Sources tell the Post that GOP officials are hoping the president will swiftly move on from Romney's vote instead of plotting a revenge that could include taking out ads against Romney, funding a rival in the 2024 election, or blocking the senator's legislative priorities. The Post's sources say that despite Romney's vote in favor of calling more witness, Trump had thought Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were more likely to vote to convict.
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