EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Romney, Rep. Stewart speak with ABC4 on eve of inauguration

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, ABC4’s senior political correspondent, Glen Mills, sat down with Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Chris Stewart to review a turbulent 2020 and discuss where our country goes from here under the Biden administration.

Sen. Romney gave his first public interview to ABC4 since the riots at the United States Capitol.

Sen. Romney spoke on the divisiveness that has plagued the United States in recent times, calling it “extraordinarily unfortunate.”

ABC4’s Glen Mills spoke with Romney about how social media may have contributed to the current divisiveness in the United States.

“Well it’s not the first time I’ve had people shouting at me,” Romney said. “When you run for president, you’re always going to have people giving you your point of view.”

Videos recently made the rounds on social media showing Romney getting harassed by several passengers on a flight from Salt Lake City to Washington D.C.

“We’re divided in part because our media is more divided than ever before,” Romney said. “We can disagree as Americans without becoming so angry at one another.”

Romney criticized the trust that the general public has placed in the information that they see on social media, calling much of what is posted on social media platforms “fundamentally untrue.”

Sen. Romney has been one of the more vocal Republicans in terms of criticizing President Trump’s actions throughout his term. Now, as Trump’s term comes to a close, many are following suit.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized President Trump publicly on Tuesday, saying that he “fed lies” to the mob of protestors who stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Romney in particular criticized Trump in his calling on the Secretary of State in Georgia, asking him to change the vote count in his favor as well as inciting protestors to storm the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

“Like leader McConnell and so many others, I believe that some of the president’s actions have been most unfortunate.”

For the first time since the mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Senator Romney opened up about the experience of being there as protestors broke into to U.S. Capitol.

“I didn’t know the degree of the imminence of the threat that we faced,” Romney said. “I just have a heart that’s broken. As I know that people around the world are watching this.”

In regards to how Sen. Romney believes the United States can heal as a country, Romney says, “We’re not going to return to the practices of the past. We’re not going to have just three networks that we all watch to get the same news and the same facts.”

Romney said, in order for the healing process to begin in this country, we must first look to how countries who have dealt with a similar crisis have healed and moved on, adding that great leaders are what is going to help the United States move forward.

“Whether it’s Churchill that reignited the conviction of the people of Great Britain that they could win. Whether it was Abraham Lincoln that helped heal the nation after civil war, we have seen great leaders bring nations together,” Romney said.

Sen. Romney says that he will be very outspoken during an upcoming Biden administration, but clarified that he will not attack Biden personally.

“I would only ever criticize him [Biden] personally if I thought he was doing something that was detrimental to the unity of our country, and the character of our country.”

Mills also spoke with representative Christ Stewart who also spoke about the divisiveness and destruction seen in the country during and after the election. Stewart acknowledged that it is hard to look back at what has happened in the country so far but he believes many are ready to move on from it.

Stewart added that the divisiveness stemmed from a combination of factors. He said, “We honestly had a president who had a way of speaking, and he was divisive, and he had a way of offending people that many of us especially in Utah found hard to accept. On the other side, we had the same type of rhetoric, the same type of divisiveness, the same type of name-calling. I just think there is plenty of blame to go around.”

Stewart also stressed the need for the nations to try to be more positive, and more optimistic about “our relationships, about the future of the country and about things that we can really get.’

Stewart agrees the president provoked the “mob that stormed the capitol. However, he also believes the mob has to take responsibility for their own actions and “so do all of us.”

“It would be good for the country if everyone toned down their rhetoric and looked for something to agree, something to embrace and be in a positive fashion instead of what we have seen in the last months particularly especially since the election,” Stewart said.

When asked about how the president should be held accountable for his actions during and after the elections Stewart didn’t agree that impeachment was the right way forward.

“The reality is that we are talking about a president who at the time of impeachment, had less than a week in office and I think accountability will be history will evaluate him, “Steward said. “There is certainly the other methods where the evaluating will happen the last month and we will be able to know and talk about that.”

Stewart added that he voted no to impeach President Trump because there were no hearings, no witnesses, and no evidence presented.

Mills also spoke to Stewart about his decision to challenge the votes in Pennsylvania, and how that may have played a role in the divisiveness seen in the country.

Stewart believed there were “such significant discrepancies, such significant questions in the Pennsylvania election that he felt they needed to be answered. He added that 75% of the house felt the same way about his position.”

“We weren’t seeking to over turn the election, we were just trying to find answers on these one particulars electorals from this one particular state, Stewart added.”

Stewart said in order for the country to start healing, people need to tone down their rhetoric, and find common ground or things everyone can agree on.

Stewart will not be attending the inauguration because he and his wife were exposed to COVID-19. He expressed that he was planning on it until the exposure. He has been tested and as soon as he gets results and he is clear he said he is heading back to D.C.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...