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Romney narrowly survives censure vote

Senator Mitt Romney addressed the Utah Republican Party 2021 Organizing Convention on Saturday in West Valley City, Utah. Romney was booed as he addressed the Utah GOP convention.
Senator Mitt Romney addressed the Utah Republican Party 2021 Organizing Convention on Saturday in West Valley City, Utah. Romney was booed as he addressed the Utah GOP convention.Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Senator Mitt Romney was booed in front of a crowd of more than 2,100 Utah Republicans at the party’s state convention Saturday, but delegates ultimately rejected a motion to censure him for his votes to impeach former president Donald Trump.

The former Massachusetts governor was met with the fierce backlash, including cries of “traitor” and “communist,” as he took the stage at a convention center in Utah’s capital, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Despite the onslaught, a later vote to censure Romney ultimately failed by a margin of 798 to 711.

“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Romney asked the crowd, the Tribune reported. “I’m a man who says what he means, and you know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issue.”

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The calls from the delegates only died down after the outgoing party chair, Derek Brown, told the crowd to “show respect” for Romney, according to the Tribune.

“You can boo all you like,” Romney said, the Tribune reported. “I’ve been a Republican all of my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan, and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012.”

Romney was one of only seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, following the Jan 6. insurrection attempt at the US Capitol. Romney was also the only Republican to break from his party and vote to impeach Trump at the former president’s first trial over foreign interference in the 2016 election.

Davis County delegate Don Guymon, who authored the resolution to censure Romney, said the senator’s votes to remove Trump from office “hurt the Constitution and hurt the party.”

“This was a process driven by Democrats who hated Trump,” Guymon said. “Romney’s vote in the first impeachment emboldened Democrats who continued to harass Trump.”

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The proposal, among several platform changes debated Saturday, also sought to praise the other members of Utah’s congressional delegation for their support of the former president.

Others warned supporting the censure risked defining the party around Trump instead of the conservative principles most delegates treasure.

“If the point of all this is to let Mitt Romney know we’re displeased with him, trust me, he knows,” said Salt Lake County delegate Emily de Azavedo Brown. “Let’s not turn this into a Trump or no Trump thing. Are we a party of principle or a party of a person?”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.