Mitt Romney reveals that he's open to removing Trump from office
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a former GOP presidential nominee, sent an incisive warning shot to President Donald Trump on Thursday in an interview with CBS discussing impeachment.
While most Republicans have been critical of Democrats' push for impeachment and have tried to downplay the severity of the Ukraine scandal engulfing the Trump administration, Romney has made it clear that he takes the matter seriously. He has said Trump's "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling." It's been the most forceful GOP condemnation yet.
And on Thursday, he made even more significant comments. In discussing the possibility of Trump's impeachment in the House — which seems nearly guaranteed at this point — and trial in the Senate, Romney indicated that he is open to the idea of removing the president.
"Each person [in the Senate] will have to make up their mind," Romney said. "That's why, with regard to that, as to whether the president should be removed or impeached, that's something which I would have to consider down the road. On that topic, I'm not really going to weigh in at this stage. I'd have to look at the evidence as it's presented."
While some opponents of Trump may see this language as far too mild, given the circumstances, it's actually pretty explosive. Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, one of the few other senators to openly criticize Trump's actions, also made it clear that he doesn't think the president's actions are impeachable. Saying that he'd have to wait for the evidence to decide on the matter signals that Romney is open to removing the president, which is a pretty substantial revelation for a Republican. Romney is particularly well-positioned to take this stand because his popularity in Utah in his own right gives him standing to distance himself from the president.
A Vanity Fair report earlier this week found that behind the scenes, Romney may even be maneuvering to rally support for his view on impeachment with fellow Republicans in the Senate.
Trump has noticed Romney's distancing himself and recently lashed out at the Utah senator on Twitter:
Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when h… https://t.co/DseOZc1cww— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1570285041.0