Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney angered President Donald Trump’s opponents by refusing to stand with Republican Rep. Justin Amash in calling for impeachment.
Amash on Saturday made headlines by tweeting that Trump had “engaged in impeachable conduct” over the course of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Romney reacted when asked by Jake Tapper about the topic during a Sunday morning conversation on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“You and Congressman Amash are the only two elected Republicans, I think, to express any misgivings about the behavior of the president or his campaign team based on the Mueller report,” Tapper said. “First of all, are you surprised you two are the only ones that have really said anything condemning of the president’s behavior as laid out?”
Romney began his answer by saying that while everyone “has to make their own judgement,” many “want to reserve judgment until this is all played out.”
Then Romney, a frequent Trump critic who many thought might back up Amash’s statement, proceeded to do the opposite. (RELATED: Justin Amash Takes It On The Chin From Conservatives After Impeachment Stand)
My own view is that Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion than I have. I respect him. I think it’s a courageous statement. But I believe that to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don’t have the elements that are evidenced in this document, and I also believe that an impeachment call is not only something that relates to the law but also considers practicality and politics, and I think the American people just aren’t there. And I think those that are considering impeachment have to look also at the jury, which would be the Senate. The Senate is certainly not there either.
“I just don’t think that there is the full element that you’d need to prove an obstruction of justice case,” the Utah senator told Tapper when asked about obstruction. “I don’t think a prosecutor would actually look at this and say, ‘OK, we have here all the elements that would get this to a conviction.'”
Romney’s statement not only received a cynical reception from some Trump supporters, it also got him in hot water with liberals and the #NeverTrump crowd. Here’s a sampling of reactions:
Mitt Romney getting simultaneously roasted by conservatives for disagreeing with the Alabama abortion law & by liberals for disagreeing with Justin Amash on impeachment is peak Mitt Romney.
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 19, 2019
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) May 19, 2019
Mitt Romney is the Susan Collins of Jeff Flakes.
— Amanda Guinzburg (@Guinz) May 19, 2019
Question for Senator Romney: what elements, exactly, are missing?
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) May 19, 2019
Romney understands, he’s just afraid to speak the truth. He knows Trump obstructed justice, but he’s afraid to say it. But he really wants people to know how “troubled” he is by what Trump did. @justinamash displayed political courage. Romney displayed the exact opposite. https://t.co/H55nO9l3ZP
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 19, 2019
I have the same question for @MittRomney as @Mimirocah1 has: what does Mitt know about the federal crime of obstruction of justice than nearly 1000 former federal prosecutors — and Mini and I — don’t know? https://t.co/u0EYzFo2ve
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 19, 2019
Romney’s comments are completely disingenuous. He hasn’t made a legal judgment re obstruction; he’s made a pure political calculation. He aspires to be the conscience of the Republican caucus in the Senate. That project is not going well. https://t.co/WapDLdt1Sk
— Michael R. Bromwich (@mrbromwich) May 19, 2019
Sorry to be crass, but Trump basically cut off Romney’s balls and fed them to him at his Secretary of State audition dinner, and Romney played along. This is the man you expected to be courageous or put America first now?
— Amy Siskind ????️???? (@Amy_Siskind) May 19, 2019
Romney translated: I am a weakling and a coward. I want desperately to be seen doing the right thing but not if it means republicans will be mad at me. You should never expect courage or action from me. https://t.co/geTdNFLACp
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) May 19, 2019
Senator Reek Romney has weighed in on impeachment pic.twitter.com/DZTFASWQYv
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) May 19, 2019