Sen. Mitt Romney said Wednesday he did not vote for President Donald Trump’s reelection, the latest break between the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and the leader of his party.
The first-term Republican senator, who already voted in Utah, declined to say if he voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden or wrote in another candidate. But he made clear that Trump did not get his vote.
“I did not vote for President Trump,” Romney told CNN on Capitol Hill.
Asked whom he voted for, Romney said: “That’s something I’m keeping private at this stage.”
Romney has made his distaste for Trump known for years – dating to the 2016 campaign – but he tried to make amends with Trump briefly after the real estate mogul’s victory and when he was briefly being considered for secretary of state. Ahead of Romney’s 2018 Senate run, Trump endorsed his election bid.
But since becoming a senator, Romney has been a lone GOP voice on Capitol Hill raising deep concerns about Trump and his character – and was the only Republican to vote to remove Trump from office over a charge of abuse of power during his impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump, for his part, has hurled insult after insult at Romney while his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has called on Senate Republicans to boot him from their conference, something that the GOP has all but ignored.
Yet despite his criticism of Trump, Romney has been a loyal GOP vote and plans to vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court despite furious opposition from Democrats.
In an interview earlier this week, Romney made clear that he believes that Trump has eroded the GOP brand.
“I think our party is in trouble with young people, increasingly with older people, with minorities,” Romney told CNN. “And those young people we were in trouble with five years ago are now voting, and so we’ve got some real work to do.”
While most Republicans are giving Trump their full-throated endorsement, other GOP senators have yet to fall in in line.
Vulnerable Maine Sen. Susan Collins, struggling to win reelection in a blue state, has pointedly refused to say if she’d back the President’s reelection or if she voted for him in the GOP primary in her state. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who launched a scathing attack about the President’s treatment of women and flirtation with White supremacists, has also not said if he planned to vote for Trump.
But Romney has been by far the most vocal in his criticism of Trump – particularly as he became the first US senator in history to support removing a president from his own party from office.
“I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters,” Romney said on the Senate floor at the time announcing his vote to remove Trump from office.
“Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”
The President responded by attacking Romney as a “failed presidential candidate.”