Mitt Romney’s vote to convict Donald Trump at the conclusion of his impeachment trial may have sparked controversy and blowback among Republicans, but not all corners of the conservative world are upset at the Utah senator’s decision.
This week, Romney appeared in Denver for an event hosted by the right-leaning Alliance of Democracies Foundation, a non-profit organization that advances democracies and free markets. Romney stood with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark, who introduced Romney as a “true profile in courage.” As the Denver Post reported, this prompted a standing ovation from those in attendance.
When Romney spoke at the event, he explained that he was aware his vote to convict Trump could hurt him politically, but he felt he needed to do the right thing or else he would end up regretting it. At the time of his vote, Romney cited his Mormon faith as a reason he followed his convictions and bucked members of his party, who otherwise voted unanimously to acquit Trump.
“There are a couple of times I have said things or taken positions that were more expedient than they were based upon conviction. I remember those things precisely and I regret them enormously,” Romney said. “And I said, ‘I’m not doing that again.’ I’ve reached a point in my life where I look back and I say of all the things I’ve done in my life, I think those couple of things really stand out and they really bother me. Years, decades later, and I’m not going to do that anymore.”
Romney has already faced some political consequences for his vote. He came under attack from Trump and many of the president’s top surrogates, including son Donald Trump Jr. who shared an image on Instagram that called Romney a “p*ssy” for his vote.
Romney was also publicly disinvited from this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, which is considered the most important and influential gathering for conservatives. Romney had frequently appeared at the conference and gave a keynote address when he was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, but this year was barred from attending.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, issued a warning saying that he would be fearful for Romney’s physical safety if he were to attend. As The Huffington Post reported, Schlapp’s ominous tweet drew controversy, as did his explanation that he no longer considered the Utah senator a conservative. Schlapp said that if Romney were to attend the conference, he would receive a credential as a non-conservative.