Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, waits to participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, as the 116th Congress begins. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
I may not be a Mitt Romney guy, but I have to give him credit here. After initially signaling he might buck Mitch McConnell and hand Democrats leverage they didn’t deserve, the Utah Senator is now doing the right thing and pushing the trial forward. In 53-47 vote (which I covered here, so be sure to check that out), Chuck Schumer’s plans to bully the majority went up in flames. No one defected. Not Romney, not Collins, nor Murkowski.
Romney put out a statement letting it be known that he supported the Clinton era rules being proposed by McConnell.
The allegations outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House are extremely serious – did the President abuse his office for personal political gain, and did he obstruct Congress’ investigation by blocking subpoenas? These allegations demand that the Senate put political biases aside, and make good faith efforts to listen to arguments from both sides and thoroughly review facts and evidence. I have made clear to my colleagues and the public that the Senate should have the opportunity to decide on witnesses following the opening arguments, as occurred in the Clinton trial. The organizing resolution released tonight includes this step, and overall, it aligns closely with the rules package approved 100-0 during the Clinton trial. If attempts are made to vote on witnesses prior to opening arguments, I would oppose those efforts.
That’s a bit dramatic, but I realize that Romney is Romney so it’s not worth caring about. He’s going to let it be known that he’s super serious so he can continue to appear as the unbiased statesman. When it comes to votes, he’s fallen in line. Multiple amendments proposed by Schumer after his initial defeat earlier in the evening have been tabled with the help of Romney. One just happened less than an hour ago.
Senate votes to table Schumer amendment to subpoena Mulvaney, 53-47
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 22, 2020
Of course, the fact that Romney didn’t channel the late John McCain and try to make himself a consequential deciding vote obviously isn’t sitting well with everyone. Media members asked him about it and he makes a good point.
Mitt Romney told me that Dems are making a “mistake” in their reaction to McConnell resolution
“If everything is an outrage, then nothing is an outrage.” He says McConnell changes from Clinton trial rules are “modest” and he won’t be voting today on motions to call for witnesses
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 21, 2020
Here’s the problem with Democrats being so hysterical all the time. By doing so, they manage to push away those who might even be potential allies. Had Schumer simply said he’ll go along with voting on witnesses later, knowing it really doesn’t matter if it happens before or after the start of the trial, he might have been able to pick off Romney, Collins, and a few others when the time came. Instead, he threw a fit and tried to ram through massive document and witness requests before the trial even started, putting his position so far out of the mainstream that no Republican was willing to go along with it. Romney and the gang simply weren’t willing to play ball on that field.
Credit where credit is due. Romney made the correct decision here (for now at least) and didn’t allow himself to be bullied. He’s also correct. If everything is worthy of outrage, nothing is worthy of outrage. Democrats are the boy who cried wolf and most of America has tuned them out.