He says ‘there’s enough room in the GOP for both of us.’
Sen. Mike Lee is defending Sen. Mitt Romney’s vote to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Although Lee disagrees with Romney’s conclusion, he does not see it as a “cause for alarm.”
Romney was the first U.S. senator in history to vote to convict a president from his own political party when he was the lone Republican to vote for conviction during Trump’s first impeachment trial in February of 2020. In the second trial, Romney was joined by six other Republicans who concluded Trump was guilty of inciting the crowd that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That riot left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
Lee flatly disagreed with the calls to punish Romney for his vote.
“While Senator Romney and I sometimes reach different conclusions, there is enough room in the Republican tent for both of us — just as there is room enough for all Republicans in a general election, regardless of how they voted in the primary,” read Lee’s statement.
Lee’s words echo that of the Utah Republican Party. The state GOP issued a statement after the diverging impeachment votes by Lee and Romney, saying “diversity of thought” is a benefit to political parties, and warning against a “unanimity of thought.”
As Lee sees it, differences in political thought will make the GOP stronger as they head into the 2022 midterm elections.
“The Republican Party should work tirelessly to take back the House and Senate in 2022. Having different perspectives within our party leads to more robust debate, which in turn produces more thoughtful policy outcomes — all of which will be a benefit to Republicans in future elections. … The tent of the Republican Party is open to anyone and everyone willing to support our shared, liberty-minded objectives,” wrote Lee.
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