Hold the phone. Mitt Romney has responded to Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence.
As my colleague streiff shared last night, the President made the move as Stone was set to report to prison (see President Trump Commutes Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence). I’ve also written on the case if you need some more background on exactly what Stone was accused and convicted of (see Judge In the Roger Stone Case Goes Full Russian Collusion Truther During Sentencing).
Of course, one of the biggest red flags with his prosecution was the no-knock raid in which CNN had been tipped off by someone on Robert Mueller’s team so the whole thing could be filmed. It was a disgusting abuse of the justice system that never would have happened if it weren’t part of a broader, false narrative regarding “Russian collusion.”
Now, the Senator from Utah has weighed in and it’s very on-brand. And by brand, I mean Romney is selectively expressing outrage that he never shows to anyone with a D next to their name.
Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020
You’ll be shocked to learn that Stone was, in fact, not convicted by a jury of “lying to shield that very president.” That’s strictly an opinion held by people who refuse to let go of the Russian collusion hoax. He was actually convicted of lying to Congress about who his intermediary was in regards to Wikileaks and about whether he had documents with Julian Assange’s name mentioned (emails, etc.). There’s no evidence anything he shared with the Trump campaign wasn’t already public knowledge. There’s certainly no evidence that his lies were meant to “protect Trump.” Romney doesn’t care though. This isn’t about real righteous outrage. It’s about him pushing a narrative he prefers.
How do I know? Because for giggles I searched for Romney’s response to Barack Obama commuting the sentence of Oscar Lopez, an unrepentant, convicted terrorist. Unsurprisingly, Romney never mentioned it as far as I can find. I also searched for his response to the commutation of Bradly Manning’s sentence, a person who actually did betray his country and likely got people killed over it. Again, Romney didn’t feel the need to go public with a condemnation. Weird, right? For context, being anti-Trump didn’t preclude John McCain and Paul Ryan from speaking out against Obama when Manning was let out of prison. Romney remained silent, though.
To be clear, Romney was heavily politically active at that point despite not being in office, including doing everything he could to try to defeat Donald Trump in 2016. Yet, he couldn’t be bothered to weigh in on the commutations of a terrorist and traitor? But let Trump commute the sentence of a 70+-year-old man who was targeted for purely political reasons and the charges of “historic corruption” start flying.
This is why most Republicans can’t stand Romney. It’s not just because he’s anti-Trump. Lots of people are anti-Trump. Rather, it’s because Romney is a political coward. He’s the guy who will always speak up against his own side, not even willing to provide context in those situations, because there’s never any risk in that. But he’s also the guy who will suddenly swallow his tongue anytime a Democrat does anything remotely objectionable. Has Romney chastised the Obama administration for their corrupt pursuit of Michael Flynn or spying on Trump’s campaign? Of course not. One might have posited that he was waiting for evidence, but that evidence has now come forth in the last several months. Yet, Romney says nothing.
Why? Because this isn’t about corruption. It’s about virtue signaling for the plaudits of the same people who accused him of killing a woman with cancer and abusing his dog. Nothing more.