Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican known for his outspoken criticism of former President Donald J. Trump, was booed and molested by members of his own party when he spoke at the Utah Republican Party Conference on Saturday.
Despite the negative reception that was reported by The Salt Lake TribuneA vote to blame Mr Romney narrowly failed later on Saturday.
Mr. Romney, one of several lawmakers speaking to the convention, took the stage to an overwhelming chorus of boos, despite some of the 2,100 delegates present cheering and applauding him.
“Now you know me as a person who says what they think, and I’m not hiding the fact that I wasn’t a fan of our last president’s character issues,” he said Video footage from the convention.
Mr. Romney was intermittently booed when addressing the meeting being held at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City. At times, viewers used his pauses to shout insults, including “traitor,” a word some Republicans have used to describe him for what they see as his lack of loyalty to Mr. Trump.
As the boos continued, Mr. Romney stepped away from his prepared remarks and asked the crowd, “Aren’t you embarrassed?”
“I understand that I have some people who don’t like me very much, and I’m sorry,” he said. “But I express my opinion when I think it’s right and I follow my conscience when I think it’s right.”
“You can hollow out anything you want,” he added, reminding delegates that he was the party’s candidate for president in 2012 and that his father, George W. Romney, also a Republican, was Michigan governor. “I’ve been a Republican all my life.”
Mr Romney’s office and the Utah Republican Party did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Mr Romney, who has represented Utah in the Senate since 2019, became the first senator in American history to vote to remove a president from his own party when he voted for the conviction of Mr Trump in his first impeachment in 2020 he said at the time “guilty of appalling abuse of public trust” for his pressure campaign against Ukraine to investigate its political rivals, including Joseph R. Biden Jr.
A year later, Mr. Romney was one of seven Republicans who voted to try Mr. Trump in his second impeachment trial.
He did not shy away from criticizing the former president. When Mr Trump tried to dismiss the 2020 election results, Mr Romney accused him of trying to “undermine the will of the people”.
“It’s hard to imagine a sitting American president taking a worse, more undemocratic action.” Mr Romney wrote on Twitter.
He was one of several prominent Republicans who said they did not vote for Mr Trump in the November election.
In January, Mr. Romney was harassed at Salt Lake City Airport and on an airplane while traveling to Washington for a joint congressional session to confirm President Biden’s election victory. In one video, passengers on the plane can hear “traitors, traitors, traitors” singing, and at least one person in the video asked him to step back.
On the night of January 6th, hours after a group of Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt the voting certificate, Mr. Romney addressed the Senate: “We are gathering because of the hurt pride of a selfish man and the indignation of followers he has deliberately misinformed over the past two months and encouraged action this morning.” What happened here today was a rebellion instigated by the President of the United States. “
An attempt to censure Mr Romney in Utah legislation failed in February. According to what Described in the Salt Lake Tribune As a “heated debate”, the delegates to the Congress of the Parties on Saturday just voted against a censorship of 798 to 711.
Don Guymon, a delegate from Davis County, supported the resolution. He told The Associated Press that Mr Romney’s impeachment vote “harmed our party, our country and ultimately the US Constitution.”
But Mr. Romney found support elsewhere in the Republican Party. Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, said in one Interview with CNN on Sunday that she was “horrified” by the attempted reprimand and the boos.
“We are not a single-person party,” she said on “State of the Union”.