On Wednesday, February 5th, the Senate finally held the long awaited vote to decide whether Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, ought to be convicted for his unlawful solicitation of foreign aid from Ukraine in the 2020 election. Nancy Pelosi’s attempts to reshape the trial in the Senate by preventing the Senate from “working in close coordination with the White House” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell openly stated would happen failed, and she was forced to pass along the Articles of Impeachment in hopes that the trial would proceed fairly. With 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the Senate, the final vote was 52-48 in favor of Trump’s acquittal. The single vote for Trump’s conviction on the Republican’s side came from Mitt Romney of Utah. It appears as if Romney has gained the respect of many Democrats - as well as antagonizing many Republicans, his own party has had nothing but criticism for his decision.
In a speech given by Romney to explain his vote, Romney defended his choice by stating that because of his Catholic faith, he felt that it would go against his personal principles to acquit Trump for his criminal activity. As an avid supporter of the Republican party, Romney’s statement has left much of the base shocked at Romney’s ability to stand up to corruption in his own party. As a result of this, a great many Democratic politicians have recently commended Romney for making his decision with integrity, and not solely basing it off of what his party desired as well as putting the needs of the country above the needs of the Republican party. The same sentiment, however, can not be shared by members of Romney’s own party.
While Romney’s distaste for the president’s persona is no secret. Republicans have taken this opportunity to call out Romney’s supposed disloyalty to his own party, and now consider him a RINO (Republican In Name Only.) Members of the Republican party now attempt to paint Romney as nothing more than a puppet for the DNC (Democratic National Convention) in order to gain support on the Republican side against Trump in November. In order to prove this, Republicans have pointed out that many of the criticisms Democrats have of Trump today are similar to the ones held against Romney back in 2012, and have only changed so dramatically due to his criticism of Trump. Additionally, many Republicans believe that Romney’s public endorsement of several of Donald Trump’s actions during the Obama presidency is sufficient proof that his words are that of the DNC, not his own beliefs.
It’s important to recognize the insignificance of the 52-48, however: 67 votes would have been necessary for conviction to occur. Donald Trump would be the very first president in the United State’s history to have been forcibly removed from office via impeachment charges, but the scenario was so far-fetched, many wonder why the House of Representatives bothered to open the inquiry to begin with. It appears that despite Trump's controversy, he will continue to be the figure to represent the current Republican Party.