AP FACT CHECK: Trump On Romney Unrest, Impeachment
WASHINGTON (AP) — Over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that Sen. Mitt Romney, who is among a handful of Republican lawmakers who criticized the president for seeking foreign help to dig up dirt on a Democratic political rival, was in the midst of a voter revolt in his home state of Utah because of those remarks. No voter impeachment effort is underway.
TRUMP: “Mitt Romney never knew how to win.” — tweet Saturday.
TRUMP: “I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake. I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats! #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY” — tweet Saturday.
THE FACTS: The newly elected Romney won’t be leaving his U.S. Senate post anytime soon due to an impeachment effort. Senators cannot be impeached under the Constitution, and Utah has no provisions in state law to recall a sitting senator.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee, won his Senate seat last November with over 62% of the vote. He is a near celebrity in conservative Utah, where many voters, particularly fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared Romney’s wariness about Trump.
AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of 2018 midterm voters, found that while two-thirds of church members voted Republican, just over half approved of Trump’s job performance. The survey also found that 64% of Utah voters wanted to see the senator confront the president. Shortly before he was sworn into office, Romney pledged to stand up to Trump if appropriate.
The Senate does have power to expel one of its members by a two-thirds vote, but it’s unclear why Trump believes Romney should be removed other than the fact he criticized Trump for behavior that spurred the president’s impeachment inquiry. The Senate has expelled only 15 of its own since 1789, based on charges of senators supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War or corruption.
Trump has acknowledged that a Democratic-controlled House might have the votes to impeach him, but maintains that the Republican-led Senate would protect him from conviction in a trial.
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