Mitt Romney (NBC News)
(ATR) US Sen. Mitt Romney blames Pres. Donald Trump for the siege of the US capitol by rioters who reject Trump’s defeat for a second term.
Speaking to a reporter from the New York Times
soon after evacuating the Senate chamber, Romney, a Republican, laid blame at the feet of the Republican President.
“This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,” he told reporter Jonathan Martin.
Dozens of Trump supporters swarmed inside the Capitol January 6 soon after Congressional members began debate on whether to accept the vote of the electoral college awarding the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden.
At a rally in Washington just hours before, Trump repeated his debunked claim that the election had been stolen by the Democrats. In the speech he urged the crowd to make the trek to the capitol about a mile away.
Romney issued a written statement after he and other members of Congress were moved to a secure location.
“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” Romney said.
Romney is not one of the 12 Republican senators who have put their names to reject the Electoral College vote. January 6 is the day specified in the US Constitution to hold the normally routine legislative exercise to approve the vote. The Senate and House of Representatives both had just begun the debate on the question when the building was invaded.
“In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?”
“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost,” Romney said.
Romney, 73, is in year two of his first six year term as a senator from Utah. From 1999 to 2002, Romney was CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He was hired for the post in the wake of the IOC vote buying scandal that nearly ruined the Games. He moved from Utah to Massachusetts where he served a term as governor of that state. In 2012, Romney unsuccessfully ran for president as the Republican nominee.
Romney and Trump have little regard for each other. Last February Romney was the only Republican Senator who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial. Romney also said he did not vote for Trump in the November election.
The bad blood between Romney and Trump is also shared by some Utah constituents who aren’t shy with their dislike for Romney. This week he was harassed as he waited in the boarding zone for his flight to Washington. Aboard the flight, passengers also going to Washington for the Trump protest rally yelled in a chorus “traitor, traitor, traitor”, clearly loud enough to be heard by him in the business cabin.
Romney issued a statement Sunday that seemed to foreshadow the trouble at the Capitol Wednesday.
“Adding to this ill-conceived endeavor by some in Congress is the president’s call for his supporters to come to the Capitol on the day when this matter is to be debated and decided. This has the predictable potential to lead to disruption, and worse.”
Reported by Ed Hula.
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