Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah received a round of applause at Friday’s Democratic presidential debate, two days after he voted to convict President Donald Trump for “abuse of power.”
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee who won election to the Senate in 2018, was the only Republican senator to find Trump guilty.
“What he did was not ‘perfect.’ No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests and our fundamental values.
“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 a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.”
House Democrats had passed two articles of impeachment in December accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Romney’s vote to convict has made him a hero to many Democrats and anti-Trumpers.
“There was a lot of courage that you saw from only a few people,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said at Friday’s debate in New Hampshire, referencing Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
“There was courage from Doug Jones, our friend of Alabama, who took that tough vote,” she added, referring to the moderate Alabama Democrat who voted to convict Trump.
That line garnered applause from the audience.
Klobuchar’s next object of praise was Romney.
“There was courage from Mitt Romney, who took a very, very difficult vote,” she added.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 8, 2020
Once again, the audience cheered.
Before voting to convict Trump, Romney delivered a letter to his GOP colleagues’ boxes in the Senate cloakroom, explaining his impending vote.
“As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise ‘impartial justice,’” Romney wrote in the letter, which was obtained and published by Axios.
“I am a profoundly religious person. 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. I was not wrong.”
In addition to applauding Romney, the New Hampshire debate audience also cheered for Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council staffer who testified against Trump during the impeachment hearings and was relieved of his White House duties on Friday.
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