A growing number of Republicans in Utah are considering a drive to recall Sen. Mitt Romney after he voted with Democrats on Thursday to convict President Donald Trump on one impeachment charge.
State GOP lawmakers said they were upset that the vote could harm state initiatives by angering the president, but they were happy that Romney at least returned quickly after the vote to explain it.
The Washington Times reported that Romney did not make any public appearances, but rather met in private with state Republican lawmakers.
“It was a very frank conversation, and people shared their opinions back and forth,” Republican House Speaker Brad Wilson said.
Utah is a deep red state and Trump endured himself to Republican lawmakers when he moved last year to downsize two large national monuments in the state.
The Times noted that it’s not yet clear whether state Republicans, who control the legislature, will advance censure or recall measures.
However, Wilson did say there would be a separate resolution to send a message of appreciation to Trump for “the great work his administration has done.”
GOP Rep. Phil Lyman wants to censure Romney, though he appreciated that he claimed to have voted his conscience.
“‘We’re unhappy that you took this position with the president, 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 said.
When asked about potential repercussions for Romney, Lyman said “relationships are important.”
The Times noted, “A separate proposal would create a path to hold a vote on recalling a U.S. senator, and while it’s not directed specifically at Romney, interest picked up this week.”
Previous measures to recall federal lawmakers have been declared unconstitutional in federal courts, however, so it’s not clear whether any Utah measure, should one arise, fare any better, Republican state Sen. Evan Vickers said.