In case you’ve been plugging your ears and hiding from the news, the Senate voted on impeachment. President Trump was acquitted with a majority vote in his favor. Unsurprisingly, every single Senator voted along party lines.
There was one stark and important exception. Mitt Romney voted for acquittal on ‘contempt of Congress,’ but he voted for removal on ‘abuse of power.’
Being the sole Republican on either side of Congress to vote against the president is a big deal, and it will present problems for this country moving forward.
A Betrayal of Justice
We first have to consider the legal justification of Romney’s vote. He claims he made his decision solemnly, and that President Trump did in fact abuse power and needs to be removed from office. There are many problems with this.
First, there was no evidence at any point as to President Trump’s motives. Abuse of power requires a corrupt motive. Without evidence of a corrupt motive, no one can, in good conscience, vote for removal. This is something that the rest of the GOP understands.
Worse, there were no allegations of criminal wrongdoing in this impeachment. That means it was entirely political, and Romney effectively endorsed the concept of political impeachments (as opposed to criminal impeachment). He has given ammunition to the Democrats for the rest of time. Every Republican president will be impeached if there is a Democratic majority in Congress. They’ll cite Mitt Romney when they do it, and the country will suffer the consequences.
As much as Romney is typically a man of principle — yes, he is even if you can’t stand him — he has betrayed his own principle on this one. He either voted against President Trump for political reasons, or he let his personal dislike of the man get in the way of objective analysis and reasoning. Neither excuse is acceptable.
The difference between conservatives and leftists is that conservatives can put personal differences aside and make judgments based on merit. By merit, President Trump is great at his job and clearly did not violate the Constitution by investigating well-established corruption in Ukraine that overtly attempted to meddle in the 2016 election. Those are all uncontested facts.
Romney voted to remove the sitting president without a charge of criminal activity because he disagrees with Trump’s personal morals. That’s it.
That’s an authoritarian position. Saying someone is unfit for the presidency because you don’t like their personal life is dictating how they have to live. It’s what conservatism is very much against, and it’s why we have relentlessly defended the Second Amendment all these years. Aspiring tyrants take their lives into their own hands in our country.
While we don’t need to accuse Romney of treason and push for the death penalty, he has let his feelings overrun his sense of calm logic. We can’t call him a Republican or conservative Senator anymore. Romney violated the Constitution in order to project his personal morals onto an effective president. We can’t allow that. Romney has to go.