Senator Romney meets with state lawmakers to explain conviction vote

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – Utah Senator Mitt Romney ignited a firestorm with his decision to break from the Republican Party and vote to convict the president.

Thursday, the senator was on Utah’s Capitol Hill trying to make good with legislative leaders who disagree with his vote.

Senator Romney was the only Republican to break ranks in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

His vote to convict marks a first.

“This is the first time we’ve had a senator vote against the president of his own party. It’s a historic vote, which means Senator Romney is going to spend a lot of time explaining why he went to such an extreme measure,” said Jason Perry the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The senator was doing just that on Utah’s Capitol Hill meeting with leaders from the House and Senate.

Leaders who make no bones about it, they disagree with Romney’s vote.

“My instincts tell me that there’s a lot of people right now that are a little unhappy with the senator. There’s a lot of people up here that are a little unhappy with him, if not a lot. So, we’ll let time pass and see where this ends up,” said Speaker Brad Wilson, (R) Kaysville.

Some hope it will end up with a censure of the senator.

Representative Phil Lyman is running that resolution. He says his constituents appreciate what the president has done for them.

“I want the message from Utah to be that we value that relationship with the White House, and want that to continue, and don’t necessarily agree with the position Mitt Romney took,” said Lyman, (R) Blanding.

There’s also a bill up for consideration to create a recall process for a U.S. senator.

Representative Tim Quinn is running that one. He says it’s not specifically targeting Romney.

“This is just saying that senators, out of all the national and state elected officials, are the only ones with a six-year term. And, that’s a long time to not be responsible back to your electorate. This just gives a mechanism that says look, you have to be accountable to those who voted for you,” said Quinn, (R) Heber City.

Senate leaders are also making it clear they support the president.

But, there seems to be little appetite for censure or an avenue for recall.

“We’re in the middle of a 45-day session, with 33 working days, I’d like to stay focused on things that make a difference for Utah and that we can do that actually affect us,” said Senate President Stuart Adams, (R) Layton.

Those running the legislation admit even though they disagree with Romney’s vote, they respect his willingness to explain himself face to face.

“His decision to vote to impeach was wrong, but his reasons for doing it I don’t question,” said Lyman.

“I told him if it were me in his shoes I would not have come, and I told him I appreciated the fact that he voted his conscience,” said Quinn.

And, not all Utahns disagree with the senator’s vote.

“It’s not so easy just to say he voted against the president, because Utahns are divided on President Trump to begin with,” said Perry.

Speaker Wilson also announced they are opening a joint resolution supporting the president and acknowledging what he calls “the great work” this administration has done for Utah.

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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...