Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) on Wednesday announced he would vote to convict President Trump on one article of impeachment, abuse of power, while he would vote to acquit the president on the second article of obstruction of Congress.
“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust,” Romney said in a speech on the Senate floor. However, the senator also admitted that Trump would not be convicted in the final vote.
“The president did in fact pressure a foreign government to corrupt our election process,” Romney said in an interview with The Atlantic. “And really, corrupting an election process in a democratic republic is about as abusive and egregious an act against the Constitution—and one’s oath—that I can imagine. It’s what autocrats do.”
In a separate interview with Fox News, Romney said, “I do believe [Trump] should be removed from office.”
The Utah senator is the only Republican who has announced his intent to vote to convict on either of the articles of impeachment. Fellow moderate Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced earlier this week they would vote to acquit the president.
With his vote, Romney will become the first senator in American history to vote to convict a president from his own party. Romney himself was the Republican nominee for president in 2012, an election he lost to incumbent Barack Obama.
Romney’s vote will almost certainly set up a clash with the president. The senator’s niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is the chair of the Republican National Committee.
“The bottom line is President Trump did nothing wrong, and the Republican Party is more united than ever behind him,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter shortly following the senator’s announcement. “I, along with the, stand with President Trump.”
Romney’s announcement came hours before the Senate is scheduled to cast final votes on impeachment.