Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he doesnt support a state lawmakers push to censure Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) because of his vote to convict in President Donald Trumps impeachment trial.
Herbert, a Republican, said he wouldnt have voted to convict Trump on abuse of power, but said “its hard to find fault” with Romney, saying he votes his conscience.
“I would not have voted that way, based on my information, what I know, but far be it for me to tell somebody else what they should vote with their information,” Herbert, 72, told the Salt Lake Tribune.
“Its hard to find fault with anybody who says, This is my moral code, this is what I believe to be true, and vote according to his conscience. You know, I dont know how you criticize that.”
Romney, 72, in his first term as a U.S. senator representing Utah, broke with Republicans last week to vote in favor of one of the two articles of impeachment.
“The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival,” Romney said on the Senate floor in Washington on Feb. 5 before the vote. “The presidents purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
Romney cited his Mormon faith while explaining his decision.
Trump, 73, was acquitted by the Senate on both articles of impeachment. Romneys sole GOP vote against the president provoked widespread ire, including among Utah lawmakers. Republican state Rep. Phil Lyman filed a resolution to censure Romney, claiming Romneys judgment was questionable.
“Were not censuring him for voting his conscience. Were censuring him for the positions that hes taken through this whole process,” Lyman told the Tribune. “And to send a message that we want to have good relationships with the White House, we want to have good relationships with President Trump.”
Herbert told the Tribune that he didnt agree with the push to censure Romney.
“Why would they censure him for being true to himself and true to his moral code, to his convictions?” Herbert said. “I think that would be just a mistake to go down that road. Every time we dont agree with somebodys vote or their statement they make, are we going to censure them?”
Romney met with some state lawmakers Feb. 6 in a meeting that House Speaker Brad Wilson, a Republican, described as “tense.” Wilson and Senate President Stuart Adams, another Republican, later filed a resolution announcing support for Trump that didnt include a censure of Romney.