SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump continued his post-acquittal assault on Sen. Mitt Romney during a meeting Monday with the nation’s governors, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
“How’s Mitt Romney? You keep him. We don’t want him,” Trump said to Herbert, according to a White House pool report.
The Republican governor did not respond, asking instead about the national debt.
Herbert has been in Washington, D.C., the past week, including over the weekend for the National Governors Association meetings. He was Romney’s guest at the State of the Union address last Tuesday. Both he and Romney referred to each other as “friends” in social media posts.
As some Republican Utah lawmakers look to censure Romney after he voted to convict Trump on abuse of power in the impeachment trial, Herbert said through a spokeswoman last week that he doesn’t feel it is warranted.
“Gov. Herbert understands that Sen. Romney voted in accordance with his conscience, bearing in mind all the information he had after sitting through the impeachment trial,” said governor’s spokeswoman Anna Lenhardt.
Utahns’ reactions to Romney have been mixed, with some calling him a patriot while some conservative Republicans want him removed from office or kicked out of the Republican Party.
Members of the Utah GOP Central Committee have drafted a resolution to censure Romney and call on him to “vigorously” support Trump and his agenda or vacate his seat.
“It was a slap in face, disrespectful. It’s been an embarrassment for our party, our state and some of us who are members of the LDS faith,” said Brandon Beckham, an Orem Republican who helped write the resolution.
Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said his vote was based on following his conscience and the vow he took before God to exercise impartial justice.
Although Romney has voted for Trump policies 80% of the time, Beckham said the vote to remove the president is more significant.
“It’s like saying, ‘Well, I never stole any money but when I did, I stole a billion dollars,’” he said. “To me, it’s an extreme vote.”
The committee will consider the resolution at its Feb. 29 meeting.
Romney was a particular target of Trump’s weekend Twitter tirade that included a retweet of an unsubstantiated claim connecting him to Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, saying Romney was corruptly involved with the Burisma energy company in Ukraine.
“Mitt Romney is tied to Hunter Biden’s Burisma corruption. This is why he’s bent over backwards for the media with this show ‘guilty’ vote,” says a Trump retweet of the website Big League Politics post. “He doesn’t want this story EXPOSED!”
Trump also retweeted another Big League Politics posting saying Romney “stabbed Trump in the back and will join Democrats in their shameful attempt to overturn an election.”
The president also threw Romney in with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who was considered a swing vote on impeachment in the largely Republican state.
“Can’t say I mind the fact that the great people of West Virginia are furious at their puppet Democrat Senator, Joe Manchin. They will never forget his phony vote on the Impeachment Hoax. All he had to do is read the Transcripts, sadly, which he wouldn’t understand anyway.....” the president tweeted.
“But, just like the people of West Virginia will no longer look at weak & pathetic Joe Manchin the same (I got the Pension Bill approved, Manchin couldn’t do it), the wonderful people of Utah will never look at “grandstander” Mitt Romney with anything but contempt & disgust!”
Trump also tweeted that West Virginians are really “mad at Senator Joe Munchkin.”
“He couldn’t understand the Transcripts. Romney could, but didn’t want to!” the president said.
Trump also tweeted that “Romney hurt some very good Republican Senators, and he was wrong about the Impeachment Hoax. No clue!”
Romney has not responded to Trump on social media nor has he posted about impeachment since his speech on the Senate floor speech.
In a White House speech last Thursday, Trump said Romney used his religious faith as a “crutch.”