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Utah lawmaker calling for censure of Mitt Romney

Gov. Gary Herbert says he does not support the idea of Sen. Romney being censured over his vote to convict in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. (Laura Seitz/The Deseret News)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Senator Mitt Romney comes to the Utah State Capitol a day after voting to convict President Trump for abuse of power.  Meanwhile, one representative is drafting a joint resolution officially censuring Romney.

The junior senator arrived at the Capitol building to have a private meeting with state lawmakers.  He simply said, “No.  Not this morning,” as he was greeted by reporters asking for comment on his vote to convict President Trump on abuse of power.

In another part of the complex, Representative Phil Lyman had been working on language that will eventually go a joint resolution censuring Romney.  However, Lyman says this isn’t personal.

“Senator Romney mentioned he was put in a position where he had to go with his conscience.  I feel the same way about this,” he says.

Lyman says the resolution is not about whether he agrees with Romney’s statements and decision to convict.  It’s designed to be more of a show of support for President Trump.  In several ways, Lyman says he still supports Romney, but, he believes the senator’s decision was a big mistake.

“We think it’s disruptive, nationally.  We think it harms Utah and we’ve got some damage control to do as a result of it,” Lyman says.

If the censure does happen, it wouldn’t actually come with any kind of official punishment for Romney.  Lyman says he isn’t calling for the senator to be removed or for him to step down.  However, Lyman says he supports a bill that would let voters recall a senator.

“It’s a bill that would put into Utah code the ability to recall a senator.  It’s not a bill to recall Senator Romney,” Lyman says, although he acknowledges, “It could be.”

However, Senate President Stuart Adams says that bill is unconstitutional wouldn’t pass through legislature.  Adams tells the Deseret News it’s time for people to move past the rancor happening in Washington D.C.  When asked if Romney added to the contention happening at the nation’s capital, Adams answered, “He didn’t help it.”