Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sunday called the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump important for “unity” and “accountability,” breaking with some Republicans who argue the trial would further divide the country.
“If we are going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice,” Romney said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that he hopes the trial will move “as quickly as possible.”
“It is pretty clear that over the last year there has been an effort to corrupt the election in the United States and it was not by President Biden; it was by President Trump,” Romney added.
He wouldn’t say whether he will vote to convict Trump. He was the only Republican to do so during Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020.
The House voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, marking the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice. Ten Republican members of the House joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to pass the resolution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday that her chamber would deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday. The impeachment trial is expected to begin Feb. 9.
Some Republicans have posited that the trial will run contrary to President Joe Biden’s call for Americans to unite in the face of several significant issues plaguing the country, including the pandemic. Others have argued the process itself is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.
But Romney on Sunday threw cold water on both arguments, telling CNN that it’s “pretty clear” holding such a trial is constitutional. His comments echoed Democratic leaders’ defense of moving forward with the trial.
When asked during a news conference last week whether she worried prosecuting Trump would alienate his supporters, Pelosi said no.
“The fact is, the president of the United States committed an act of incitement of insurrection,” Pelosi said during the news conference at the Capitol. “I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘Let’s just forget it and move on.’”
She added: “Just because he’s gone now ― thank God ― you don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration, you’re going to get a get out of jail card free,’ because people think we should make nice-nice and forget that people died here on Jan. 6, that the attempt to undermine our election, to undermine our democracy, to dishonor our Constitution ... I think that would be harmful to unity.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly said in private that he was glad the House moved to impeach Trump. He has said publicly that he feels Trump “provoked” the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which left at least five people dead.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered a decidedly different view of Trump’s impeachment, telling “Fox News Sunday” that he believes the trial is “stupid.”
“I think it’s counterproductive,” Rubio said. “We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”
He added that Trump “bears responsibility for some of what happened” but said he doesn’t believe Congress should “revisit this all and stir it up again.”
“The first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it because I think it is really bad for America,” Rubio said.