To get a sense of the debate now underway within the GOP, look no further than Utah. Some state Republicans are circulating a motion online calling for Mitt Romney to be censured for voting to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. At the same time, however, party leaders in the state are coming to the Republican senator's defense. Coverage:
- The motion alleges that Romney has "misrepresented himself as a Republican" and embarrassed the state. It also said he abused his power as a senator to "undermine" Trump's claims about the election, and concluded that Romney "appears to be an agent for the Establishment Deep State," per the Salt Lake Tribune. The "deep state" line appears to have since been deleted from the motion.
- The state Republican Party shot back that Romney voted one way on Trump while Utah's other GOP senator, Mike Lee, voted the other, and both have come under criticism. This is a healthy thing, says the party, per KUTV. "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."
- 2 views: Utah GOP Chairman Derek Brown notes that Romney is up for re-election in 2024, and voters can effectively censure him at the ballot box if they feel he deserves it. But GOP activist Janalee Tobias doesn't want to wait that long. “Utah is a red state," she tells the Tribune. "We elected Mitt Romney to be a part of the red team. Trump is the quarterback of the red team. Romney has decided to play for the blue team, and he should resign.”
- Others: Romney was one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict, and others are facing similar heat. On Monday night, the North Carolina GOP's central committee censured Richard Burr, prompting him to call it a "sad day for North Carolina Republicans," notes the Hill. "My party's leadership has chosen loyalty to one man over the core principles of the Republican Party and the founders of our great nation," he said. In Louisiana, Bill Cassidy was censured by his state party, and in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey faced the same from county-level parties.
- Collins: In Maine, state Republican leaders are considering a censure of Susan Collins that could come before the end of the month, reports the Bangor Daily News.
- Not enough: Though Romney has now voted twice to convict Trump in impeachment trials, stats at FiveThirtyEight show that he voted in alignment with Trump's views 79% of the time.
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