There was only one vote in the Senate that broke from the party line… Mitt Romney. There were three different ways to read his decision. Let’s break them down.
Mitt Romney split his vote on the two impeachment articles.
On the second count, Obstruction of Congress, he voted to acquit.
On the first count, Abuse of Power, Romney voted to convict. Naturally, that’s the one that has people talking.
Here’s Romney’s formal statement.
Mitt Romney says he will vote to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate #impeachment trial, becoming the first Republican senator to support Trump’s removal https://t.co/4aGNCx3aat pic.twitter.com/wLNZXbghxt
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 5, 2020
Overall, there were 3 reactions to his decision.
1) The ‘Strange New Respect’ response. Much like the Left’s reaction to the Bush family when they came out against Trump, some of the same people that demonized Romney years ago have discovered a ‘strange new respect’ for a long-hated enemy. In a nutshell ‘he agress with us, so he’s a good guy now’. Of course, that attitude says a lot more about their own delusions of moral superiority than it does about Romney.
2) The ‘Turncoat’ Response. Most on the Right sees this as a betrayal not just of the party, but of the Constitution itself, one motived by something beyond the truth or falsity of the accusations under consideration themselves.
3) The ‘Guided By Conscience’ Response. This one gives him the benefit of the doubt, taking Romney’s claims of being guided by faith and conscience at face value.
Romney’s vote today also shows how dishonest his vote for witnesses was last week. He clearly didn’t believe more evidence or testimony was necessary since he’s voting to convict today. He just wanted a long, drawn-out process to damage his nemesis. https://t.co/RXccNlPyP0
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 5, 2020
Romney said Wednesday afternoon that one of the reasons he pushed hard for Bolton was the hope that he would be able to provide more information to fairly weight the House prosecutors’ arguments.
“I hoped that what he might say could raise reasonable doubt and thus remove from me the awful obligation to vote for impeachment,” he said.
Source: The Hill
That’s now how trials are supposed to work. Innocence does not need to be proven. Guilt does.
We’ve already seen Romney’s petty side. We remember the OpEd he gave to WaPo the very first day he joined the Senate. The one that dragged Trump… despite Trump giving him the endorsement he asked for in the Senate.
He urged fellow Republicans in a scorching March 2016 speech not to nominate Trump for the presidency, calling him a “con man, a fake” and “a phony, a fraud.”
That may have hurt his persuasiveness with some GOP colleagues during the debate over witnesses. One Republican senator said there is a view within the conference that Romney’s arguments were motivated by a “guttural dislike of the president.”
Source: The Hill
Romney could think of no possible explanation other than ‘personal gain’ for Trump to take an interest in Biden and Burisma. Even though he acknowledged that there was a conflict of interest. Even though Biden threatened to withhold US aid unless and until Ukraine did something that PERSONALLY benefited his family. Even though three other Senators apparently threatened that aid if they didn’t cooperate with Mueller in investigating Trump.
But we’re not supposed to believe this was personal.
That Romney was settling scores, or currying favor with the elites and insiders that threw him to the wolves in 2012.
That Romney was motivated by anything other than deep personal devotion and piety.
He forgets that not everyone who does things out of ‘deep piety’ does so for righteous reasons. Jesus himself ripped pretty hard on the Pharisees who wrapped their personal sins in the cloak of religious devotion.
Maybe the answer is simpler than all of that. Maybe he’s just another insider protecting the status quo of the swamp:
According to web archives, top Mitt Romney adviser Joseph Cofer Black, who publicly goes by “Cofer Black,” joined Burisma’s board of directors while Hunter Biden was also serving on the board. —Federalist
But that’s probably ‘just a coincidence’ too, right?