After an emotional description of his love for his Heavenly Father, Mitt Romney revealed today that he does, in fact, have balls, an appreciation for facts, and a conscience. Normally I roll my eyes when people get choked up about their love for Jesus's old man, but if it's Mitt's love for Earth's creator and his fear of making an oath to Sky Daddy that he does not follow through on (because Sky Daddy can see into his heart!) that makes him actually hold Trump accountable for his manifold crimes, whatever, man, we'll take it!
Romney, who does not drink coffee because of his religious beliefs but does allow himself coffee ice cream, was going to say, "I swore an oath, before God, to exercise 'impartial justice.' I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential," according to his prepared remarks.
But after the first mention of God there, Romney seemed to be touched by some inner light, some private flood of love for the Lord of Lords, and shortened the one sentence to "I am profoundly religious." Veering off-script, he added, "My faith is at the heart of who I am." Then paused for a notably long time, evidently trying not to cry, and went on, "I take an oath to God as enormously consequential." Watch below.
As for the substance of today's question—whether or not to vote to convict Trump, which would be the first time in American history that a senator votes to remove a president of his own party in a Senate impeachment trial—here's what Romney had to say:
The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”
Yes, he did.
The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.
The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.
The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.
The President’s purpose was personal and political.
Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust... Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.
Praise Jesus! Or Joseph Smith, or whoever. (Romney's definitely getting his own planet now.) The "White House was completely caught off guard by Romney's vote," according to one Wall Street Journal reporter, who adds that a meeting this afternoon between Trump and Venezuela's opposition leader, which was supposed to be open to the press, is now closed to the press.
I'm sending Trump and the Republican party my thoughts and prayers.
What Romney just did is kill off one of the trustiest Republican talking points since the House opened its impeachment inquiry—the whole line about how this is the first purely partisan impeachment in US history. (After all, even some Democrats voted against Clinton during his impeachment.) Romney's move also burnishes Nancy Pelosi's credibility. She had said she would only pursue impeachment if it was over something so wrong that there would be bipartisan agreement that it was wrong, and critics have been flinging that back into Pelosi's face every day... until now.
Why did he do it? Because "my oath before God demanded it of me," said the man from Utah in the special underwear, a man formerly known for having binders full of women and a dog strapped to the top of his car.
Now Romney gets a little lift for his legacy in the history books. If the long list of Trump's crimes ever comes out clearly, if Republicans ever acknowledge honestly the destruction Trump has created, this move also sets up Romney to be the guy who can say he had courage when no one else did. If Republicans ever come to regret Trump—which still could happen, maaaaybe—this sets Romney up to be the future standard-bearer for that half of the country. If we still have a country when this is over.
This is the first time I've ever heard "God made me do it" and thought: Yeah, okay, great! Thanks, God! Journalist Kara Swisher is calling this Romney's "have you no shame moment." Here are some more reactions:
Having proven Trump guilty, I asked if there was just one Republican Senator who would say “enough”
Who would stand up against this dangerously immoral president
Who would display moral courage
Who would do impartial justice as their oath required and convict
And there is. https://t.co/xNHi2CP6oF
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 5, 2020
One thing Mitt's GOP colleagues can no longer say when history spreads its cheeks and takes a dump over their cowardly legacies is that they haven't been told.
— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) February 5, 2020
Mitt Romney. Huh. Good for him.
— John Hodgman (@hodgman) February 5, 2020
Today is the day mitt Romney became president
— Charles Finch (@CharlesFinch) February 5, 2020
Today is the day Mitt Romney became Pierre Delecto
— Thor Benson (@thor_benson) February 5, 2020
Good for Mitt, who's managed (a) to do the right thing, and (b) to make clear(er) the self-serving unpatriotic dishonesty of his Republican colleagues.
— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) February 5, 2020
Romney? ROMNEY? The human who sends his toast back because it’s too spicy is the only one with a backbone? We live in a reboot where all the characters nobody liked got arcs.
— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) February 5, 2020
Honestly, yes, good for Mitt Romney, but overpraising him for doing his duty to the Constitution is like saying "Well, remember all those times he DIDN'T strap a dog to the roof of his car?"
— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) February 5, 2020
I want to be Mitt Romney so bad!! by that I mean I want to show up to work everyday, absolutely do nothing, and then expect praise from everyone at the office for putting a fork in the dish washer.
— Mohanad Elshieky (@MohanadElshieky) February 5, 2020
UPDATE: Aaaaaand... it happened. Romney did it. The Republican column has a little number 1 in it. And we all know how much Trump likes a little number 1.