By Buck Sexton
After the most absurd presidential impeachment in the history of the U.S. Congress, last week was finally an opportunity for the Republican Senate majority to restore sanity to its institution…
On a purely party line vote, Democrats in the House had cast votes to oust President Trump from office. Every choice the Democrats made in the conduct of the impeachment process – the ultimate sanction against the highest official in our government – was abusive, distorted, and dishonest.
The charges – “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Congress” – were vague and absurd. They were also unproven, as evidenced by the Democrats’ claim that – in the absence of witnesses the Senate never called – the trial would be nothing more than a “cover-up.”
But finally the Senate, with its intentionally high threshold of a two-thirds majority vote for removing a president from office, could set things right.
Democrats were about to receive a rebuke in the form of a majority of Senators – including some from their own party – voting to acquit President Trump and end this maniacal attempt to undo the vote of the American people in 2016 before they could make the same mistake again in 2020. The Senate – the “world’s greatest deliberative body” – had the chance to impose some semblance of decency in the face of Speaker Pelosi’s farcical, bad- faith effort to abort a presidency on trumped-up allegations.
Then Republican Mitt Romney decided to step in…
The Senator from Utah, formerly the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, has made no secret of his personal loathing for Trump.
During the 2016 presidential contest, Romney gave speeches in which he called the Republican party standard-bearer a “phony” and a “fraud” who is “very, very not smart” when it comes to foreign policy. And those were some of the nicer comments.
When it suited his own needs, Romney was perfectly happy to play along and bend the knee to the president.
Romney claims he voted against Trump purely out of a duty to his conscience. Among many problems with that is, when it suited his own needs, Romney was perfectly happy to play along and bend the knee to the president. During the 2016 presidential transition period, Romney met with the president-elect to ask for the coveted Secretary of State job. Trump ended up going with Rex Tillerson (an admittedly bad choice in its own right), but in 2018, it seemed there was a thaw in relations when Romney ran his successful campaign for a Utah Senate seat.
Whatever gratitude Romney felt to Trump for that victory didn’t last long…
While every other Republican Senator understood the “whistleblower” Ukraine phone call for the partisan scam that it was, Mitt Romney was swayed.
While the sane half of the country laughed at Nancy Pelosi’s claim that impeachment was a solemn, prayerful affair that she took no pleasure in igniting, Mitt became a believer.
When Adam Schiff made sure that House Democrats could call 17 witnesses against Trump in the impeachment trial with no Republican witnesses allowed or even the presence of counsel to represent the president’s interests, Mitt Romney came away thinking that was due process.
And when Schiff turned around as a manager for impeachment to claim, with the most sanctimonious tone he could muster, that the Senate choosing not to call witnesses that the House had already skipped would effectively invalidate the whole process and undermine the integrity of Congress – Romney was taken in by the blatant mendacity.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats have decided that the man they derided in 2012 as a vulture capitalist who keeps women locked in binders and stole health care from old people so he could live in multiple mansions is now a paragon of virtue. Their opportunism in this assessment is as blatant as Pelosi’s posturing during the impeachment farce. But even some Republicans have now taken the position that Mitt’s act of defiance is rooted in a deep and abiding love of the Constitution and personal honor.
Nonsense. Mitt Romney’s political career has been defined by whatever is best for Mitt Romney. He pretends to stand on principle at the moment, when in reality he is throwing a tantrum rooted in hatred and envy. Mitt is too intelligent to believe that a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that resulted in nothing and where no law was broken is somehow grounds for undoing the expressed will of 63 million voters in 2016.
Mitt hates Trump, and this Senate vote to convict is his last desperate act to get some vengeance.
Mitt hates Trump, and this Senate vote to convict is his last desperate act to get some vengeance. In doing so, Romney has given cover to Democrats to call the removal vote “bipartisan,” and relieved pressure on wavering Democrats like Sinema and Manchin who were able to stick with their party. There was nothing to gain in this for anyone on the side of the conservatism and constitutionalism that Mitt Romney professes to care so much about.
Hubris and vanity are powerful motivators. Senator Romney can try to cover himself in the trappings of conscience, but with this vote, he has shown that he cares more about sticking a finger in Trump’s eye than the policies and principles he has spent decades pretending to defend and cherish.
Congrats, Senator Romney. The Democrat Party awaits.
Buck Sexton is host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, The Buck Sexton Show, heard more than 100 stations across the country. He’s also a former CIA and NYC police department intelligence officer.