Trump also backed Mitt Romney in his 2018 Senate race.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) announced Wednesday he would vote to convict and remove Donald Trump from office, eight years after Trump endorsed him for the presidency.
With his vote, Romney will become the first senator in U.S. history to vote to remove a president of his or her own party.
"The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust," Romney said in a floor speech explaining his decision. "What he did was not 'perfect.' No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values. 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."
"... I support a great deal of what the President has done," he said. "I have voted with him 80% of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside."
He added, "Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience."
With every other Senate Republican expected to vote to acquit Trump, it appears that there will not be a majority — let alone the required two-thirds super-majority needed — to remove him from office.
But Romney's decision to vote against Trump is noteworthy. Aside from its historical significance, his vote means Trump's impeachment will now be considered bipartisan.
Romney's vote stands in contrast with Trump's past praise of the senator.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Trump endorsed Romney at a joint event in Las Vegas, calling him "tough," "smart," and "sharp."
"It's my honor, real honor, to endorse Mitt Romney," Trump said at that event.
Trump, who had previously criticized Romney, told CNN at the time that he had since "gotten to know him and he's a terrific guy. I don't know if he really comes out like he really is in person. He's a warm, smart, tough cookie and that's what this country needs."
Romney gratefully called the endorsement a "delight," saying, he was "honored and pleased."
Though the two subsequently feuded and Romney opted not to back Trump in the 2016 campaign, he reportedly auditioned to be Trump's secretary of state during the White House transition and praised the president-elect effusively.
Romney did not get the job, but after the former Massachusetts governor moved to Utah and ran for Senate, Trump backed him again.
"He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!" Trump said at that time.
Romney gratefully accepted Trump's support.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.