SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney voted to convict President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying the president was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
He was the only GOP senator to favor ousting the impeached president, who was eventually acquitted.
Romney’s vote sparked mixed reactions from his Filipino-American constituents in Utah. While some applauded Romney for crossing party lines, others were left angry and frustrated.
“I’m very disappointed,” Republican voter Rocelyn Flores Walker said. “He said he voted with his conscience, but he is an elected senator, and he’s supposed to vote for his constituents who voted for him.”
But there’s also support for the senator in the Beehive State, especially from those who share Romney’s wariness about Trump.
“I was pretty happy about that,” independent voter Miguel Mendoza said. “Now I’m more confident that he’s coming from a moral place versus being obedient to the party.”
In addition to Democrats and independents, many Republicans were also pleasantly surprised with Romney’s stance, including Grantsville City Councilwoman Jewel Punzalan Allen, a longtime registered Republican.
“At the end of the day, as an elected official, one must always vote their conscience,” Allen said, “and I believe that’s what Mitt Romney did, and I admire him for that.”
Following Romney’s bold move, top Trump allies immediately condemned him, including Donald Trump Jr., who publicly called for Romney to “be expelled” from the Republican Party. But Republican senators quickly shot down efforts to punish Romney.
Romney met with Republican legislative leadership at Utah’s Capitol to explain his impeachment decision on Thursday and is expected to return to Washington on Friday.