PROVO, Utah – Despite enduring a chorus of boos from the Utah GOP on Saturday, Sen. Mitt Romney narrowly avoided a censure motion from the state party for voting to convict former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges.
Convention attendees voted by a margin of 798-711 to defeat the censure resolution toward the end of the party’s meeting. Although the junior senator from Utah escaped the rebuke, the close vote reflected the state GOP’s dissatisfaction with Romney’s previous votes to convict Trump on impeachment charges.
“Mitt Romney’s votes to remove Trump from office in two illegitimate impeachment trials hurt the constitution and hurt the party,” Davis County delegate Don Guymon, who authored the resolution, said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Guymon’s resolution sparked fierce debate, with some attendees, such as Salt Lake County delegate Emily de Azavedo Brown, arguing that the GOP was bigger than a single personality.
“If the point of all this is to let Mitt Romney know we’re displeased with him, trust me, he knows,” she said. “Let’s not turn this into a Trump or no Trump thing. Are we a party of principle or a party of a person?”
Utah County delegate Steve Densley added that the Republican Party opposes “cancel culture.”
“This proposal is not about whether Romney is a good Republican,” he said. “This is about sending a message that this party cannot tolerate dissent.”
Although the delegates rallied around Romney in the censure resolution, the senator was less warmly received earlier in the day. Romney was showered with boos as he delivered a speech critical of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“I’m a man who says what he means, and you know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issues,” he said Saturday as delegates at Utah’s Republican convention shouted their disapproval, with some calling him a “traitor” and a “communist.”
“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Romney, who went on to tout his Republican credentials, asked the crowd at one point.
The hecklers finally stopped when the outgoing party chairman asked the delegates to “show respect.”
Romney’s past criticism of Trump, culminating in votes to convict him on impeachment charges in both 2020 and 2021, have drawn ire from those on the Right. The defeat of Saturday’s motion follows a February petition to censure Romney for his anti-Trump votes.
“This is the second time he has betrayed the people of Utah,” GOP activist Janalee Tobias said. “We assumed since he was a Republican presidential candidate, he would be a loyal supporter of President Trump.”
Trump was impeached on two Ukraine-related charges in 2019 without the support of a single Republican in the House. The only Republican to vote in favor of conviction in the Senate was Romney, who voted in favor of the abuse of power article of impeachment while rejecting the charge for obstruction of justice. The then-president was ultimately acquitted in the Senate.
Earlier this year, Trump was impeached for a second time, with 10 Republicans voting in favor of impeaching Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection. Romney was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump, but he was again acquitted.