Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Wednesday in an exclusive interview that he “had to follow my conscience” in deciding to vote to convict President Trump on abuse of power, a decision that’s likely to lead to serious blowback from Trump and others in the Republican Party.
“I believe that the act he took, an effort to corrupt an election is as destructive an attack on the oath of office and our Constitution as I can imagine,” Romney said. “It is a high crime and misdemeanor within the meaning of the Constitution, and that is not a decision I take lightly. It is the last decision I want to take.”
Romney later told Wallace: “I had to follow my conscience,” when asked about the likely blowback from Trump.
“I understand there’s going to be enormous consequence,” he said, “and I don’t have a choice in that regard. That’s why — that’s why I haven’t been anxious to be in the position I’m in.”
Romney is not voting to convict Trump on obstruction of Congress, which was one of the two impeachment articles passed by the House of Representatives. He is splitting his vote to convict Trump on the abuse of power article.
The former Republican nominee for president also cited his deep Mormon faith played a significant role in his decision. When Wallace asked Romney about Trump’s reaction to his comments saying the Mueller report “sickened” him, Romney said that any political benefit he would gain from voting to acquit Trump on abuse of power would not overtake his faith and the oath he took when being sworn in as a Senator at the impeachment trial.
“Yeah, again, I can’t let personal considerations, if you will, overwhelm my conscience and overwhelm my oath to God,” Romney said. “I mean, this for me is … well it’s the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life. There’s been nothing that compares to this.”
It’s likely Romney will face blowback from both Republican voters in his deep-red state of Utah and other Republican members of Congress for his vote to convict Trump. He told Wallace he was ready for the repercussions.
“Yeah, it’s going to get very lonely,” he said. “And again, the consequences are significant. They’re, um, uh — they’re enough that it made this a very difficult process for me. There has not been a morning since this process began that I’ve slept beyond 4:00 a.m.”