RNC chairwoman disagrees with her uncle Mitt Romney on impeachment vote
Washington (CNN)Sen. Mitt Romney’s vote on Wednesday to convict President Donald Trump on one of the articles of impeachment not only rankled his fellow Republicans but also led his niece, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, to publicly disagree with him.
“This is not the first time I have disagreed with Mitt, and I imagine it will not be the last,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted. “The bottom line is President Trump did nothing wrong, and the Republican Party is more united than ever behind him. I, along with the @GOP, stand with President Trump.”
The former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party has supported Trump since his 2016 election and sided with him over her uncle in the past. In 2019, she slammed the then-senator-elect for writing an op-ed criticizing Trump’s behavior since taking office as “evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
“For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack (Trump) as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” she said in a Twitter post at the time.
Vice President Mike Pence called Romney’s decision a “disappointment” during an interview on radio’s “The Lars Larson Show” but added that “at the end of the day it makes no difference.”
Donald Trump Jr. mocked Romney over his decision in a series of tweets, calling him “bitter” and saying he should be expelled from the Senate Republican conference. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, who said last month that Romney would not be invited to the conservative conference because of his support of witness testimony, also mocked Romney on Twitter Wednesday.
Romney did not tell any colleagues about his decision in advance of his announcement Wednesday. Although some Republicans have publicly said the Utah senator’s vote was a personal choice and one they generally respect, behind the scenes there is significant frustration with his decision.
“I’ll give him this: professional rollout,” one GOP senator told CNN. “Not very collegial, but very professional.”
A bigger issue, several GOP aides said, was the possibility Romney’s decision would step on the headline of the President’s acquittal in the media.
“All you guys are going to lead with Romney,” one senior GOP aide said. “Not the fact the President was acquitted and is through with this.”
When reporters asked Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker just minutes after the vote to react, Wicker replied: “This is his hour.”
Another GOP aide guessed that Romney wasn’t having “much fun” right now.
Before the vote, members of GOP leadership had projected confidence that Romney would vote with them, only to be surprised watching his announcement on TV.
Romney had stood apart from his Republican colleagues in the past week, as his pleas in closed-door meetings for witnesses and documents were largely scoffed at and ignored, according to people in the room.
Romney announced in a Senate floor speech Wednesday afternoon that he would vote to convict the President on an abuse of power charge levied by House Democrats. He voted not guilty on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.
“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,” the Utah Republican said on the Senate floor. “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.”
Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s vote that he thought senators would accept Romney’s decision and continue to work with him despite his vote.
“You know, in the conference, he’s somebody who we all know is a very independent person and, obviously, you know, we’re going to continue to work with him,” said Thune, the second-ranking senator in GOP leadership. “There is always another day and another vote, and you may not have everybody on every vote. Sometimes you just have to play the next game when it comes along. So we’ll be prepared for whatever comes next. And so will he, and I’m sure that the members of our conference will continue to work with him and accept his point of view.”
Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/05/politics/ronna-mcdaniel-mitt-romney-impeachment-vote/index.html