SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah state lawmaker proposed a joint resolution to censure U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for his vote to impeach President Donald Trump — the sole guilty vote among Republicans in the Senate, and the first senator in U.S. history voting to remove a president from his own party.
A day later, a group called Republicans for the Rule of Law put up digital billboards on Interstate 15 near the 3300 South exit with a picture of Romney and the words “This is what a patriot looks like.”
Republicans look at punishment for Romney
Republican Rep. Phil Lyman of Blanding joined Lee Lonsberry on his show “Live Mic” to explain why he felt the U.S. senator needed censure by the Utah Legislature — and President Trump needed praise.
“This isn’t an anti-Romney thing, but I think we’ve done some damage to ourselves,” Lyman said.
“We’ve got a senator who makes a really public statement — faith-based statement — about why he’s voting against the president, voting to impeach.
“And I want President Trump. . . to know how much Utah appreciates him,” Lyman said. “He’s done a tremendous amount for the state of Utah and hopefully continues to have a friendly attitude toward the Legislature here, so it’s a statement by the Legislature to try to do some damage control.
Lyman said a positive relationship with the president is important.
Lee asked Lyman if his resolution censuring Romney could pass both the state House and the Senate.
Lyman said some of his colleagues along the Wasatch Front are in a no-win position in voting either for or against Lyman’s resolution.
He acknowledged that many Utahns don’t appreciate the president while many do.
But he said the message of the resolution is: “This state appreciates this president.”
On the opposite side: praise for the senator
A group called Republicans for the Rule of Law disagreed with Lyman’s resolution to censure and instead decided that praise by billboard was in order for Romney.
Chris Truax, a spokesman for the group, joined Lee on his show to explain.
He said his group has spent a lot of time and money demanding that Republicans do the right thing.
“We really had no choice but to honor someone who answered that call,” Truax said.
“We know that Senator Romney really voted his conscience. He acted with integrity, and he fulfilled his oath to the best of his ability.
“Whether you agree with Senator Romney did or not,” he said, “Utah should be very proud of him because he’s a man with real integrity.”
Truax pointed out that during his speech explaining his Senate vote, Romney said he took an oath before God to apply impartial justice during Trump’s impeachment trial.
He honored his oath, and we should respect that, he said.
Truax also noted that Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who took the very same oath, a month before vowed to disregard it.
The Republican told Fox News in an interview Dec. 12:
“I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can.”
Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.
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