The media loves to give Mitt Romney far more credit than he deserves for taking “principled” stands. Anyone who has followed him closely knows that this guy speaks out of both sides of his mouth and tries to have everything both ways.
On the one hand, Romney broke party ranks to vote to convict Donald Trump on one of two charges in his impeachment trial, abuse of power, because he believed Trump’s conduct shows that the president is unfit and that he “should be removed from office.” Mitt Romney just did something that literally no senator has ever done before:
“I believe that the act [Trump] took — an effort to corrupt an election,” Romney told Fox News’s Chris Wallace, “is as destructive an attack on the oath of office and on our Constitution as I can imagine.”
On the other hand, Trump is trying to jam through a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of voting in an election because he believes that he needs a ninth justice on the court to break a tie vote when he tries to “get rid of the ballots” and have “his” Supreme Court decide the election rather than the voters.
So where does the “principled” Mitt Romney who voted to convict Donald Trump for his “effort to corrupt an election” because his conduct showed that the president is unfit and he “should be removed from office” stand on Trump’s latest attempt to corrupt an election?
Matt Naham encapsulates the mendacity of Mitt Romney with this biting headline: Mitt Romney: the President Is Guilty. Also Romney: It’s Immutably Fair That Trump Pick Ginsburg’s Replacement in Election Year.
It wasn’t so long ago that Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the lone Republican in the Senate to convict President Donald Trump on an abuse of power charge at the end of the impeachment trial over the Ukraine affair. “The president is guilty,” Romney declared, causing many on the left to briefly marvel at a voice crying out in the wilderness—transcending lockstep party politics in favor of principle despite retaliatory threats. Several months later, in the aftermath of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and at the beginnings of a deeply partisan fight, Romney released a statement saying that President Trump should get to pick Ginsburg’s replacement—all but ensuring that will happen. Romney appealed to the notion of “immutable fairness.”
“My decision regarding a Supreme Court nomination is not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’ which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm and opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of his own,” Romney said, clearly attempting to draw a distinction between the current situation and then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat.
What a load of crap!
“The Constitution gives the president the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney said.
Romney is correct that the Constitution says the president shall nominate and, by and with the Senate’s advice and consent, appoint a Supreme Court justice. There is nothing in that Constitution that says the Senate shall not consider a SCOTUS nominee in an election year. Put simply, the president and the GOP-led Senate have the power to do exactly what they are doing. But there isn’t a clause either that says that if it’s an election year and the president and the Senate are controlled by the opposing parties, a nominee should not get a hearing.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, gets it exactly right:
How embarrassing he is. The history that’s relevant here is Romney’s vote to convict the President on the articles of impeachment as unfit for office this year. He’s unfit to serve, but fit to select a SCOTUS justice during the General Election? https://t.co/L3ouls4FU7
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) September 22, 2020
When asked “will he commit to a peaceful transition of power?” during a White House news briefing, Trump instead cast doubt on the reliability of election infrastructure.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” the president responded to a reporter. “You know, I’ve been complaining about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.”
“And the ballots are out of control,” he continued. “You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats.”
Shortly after the comment, Trump pivoted to touting his soon-to-be-announced Supreme Court nominee[.]
So where does the “principled” Mitt Romney who voted to convict Donald Trump for his “effort to corrupt an election” because his conduct showed that the president is unfit and he “should be removed from office” stand on Trump’s latest outrage?
Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who voted for Trump’s ouster during his impeachment trial this year, also expressed dismay at the president’s briefing.
“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” he tweeted, in reference to the post-election tumult that has gripped the Eastern European country. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Romney has been singular among his Republican colleagues in his criticisms against the president, and a number of his former staffers openly endorsed Biden for president.
Do you know which Republican Senator has the “singular” ability among his Republican colleagues to throw a wrench in Donald Trump’s latest attempt to corrupt an election? Friggin’ Mitt Romney!
Man up, Mendacious Mitt. Put your country before party and honor your oath of office to defend the Constitution from the president you said is unfit and that he “should be removed from office.” Announce today that based upon Trump’s latest outrageous threat to ur democracy you will NOT vote to confirm his nominee to the Supreme to thwart his election theft scheme. If you are as “principled” as you want everyone else to believe, you have no choice but to make this “principled” stand.
You have it in your power to stop this existential threat to our democracy.
History will judge you, Mitt.