“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,” the Utah Republican said Wednesday.
In 2012, Mitt Romney made history by becoming the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be the presidential nominee of a major political party. Eight years later, the Utah senator will now be remembered as the first Republican to vote to remove a president in his own party.
On Wednesday afternoon, Romney said he plans to vote in favor of convicting President Trump on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, but against the second article of obstruction of Congress.
By asking Ukraine to investigate one of his political rivals and withholding military aid to pressure the country to do so, Romney said during a speech on the Senate floor, the president is “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
Early in the impeachment inquiry, President Trump said the phone call in question with President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect.”
It wasn’t, Romney said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values. 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.”
The Senate will vote later Wednesday afternoon, and is expected to acquit Trump of both impeachment charges.
“My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate,” Romney said, “but irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability believing that my country expected it of me.”
Senate Democrats have championed Romney’s bravery for breaking ranks with his party.
After Romney’s speech to the Senate, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted, “Thank you, Mitt. You have restored my faith in the Senate and the idea that putting country over party is still possible.”
Watch Romney’s full statement.