Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced Wednesday he would vote to remove President Donald Trump from office, becoming the lone Republican to break with his party in voting to convict the president.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Romney said he would vote to convict the president for abuse of power and to acquit on the obstruction of Congress charge.
“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,” Romney said in remarks on the Senate floor.
He added that he believed Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
“What he did was not ‘perfect.’ No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” Romney said.
Romney called his vote “the most difficult decision” of his life, adding that he is aware he would be “vehemently denounced” for his decision by some of his fellow Republicans.
“I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”
Romney vote would make him the first senator in history to vote to convict a president of the same party in an impeachment trial in the Senate.
“My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate, but irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability believing that my country expected it of me,” Romney said.
His announcement surprised colleagues, who were expecting him to vote to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment after two other moderates, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), announced they would oppose the impeachment articles.
While some Republicans said they believe Trump acted inappropriately in his dealing with with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, none have said that his conduct is an impeachable offense.
Not a single GOP senator was in attendance for Romney’s somber remarks on the floor and only a few Democrats were on hand in the chamber.
67 votes are need to convict the president on each of the two articles of impeachment. Most of the 47 Democrats will vote to convict Trump.