After acquittal, President Trump felt particularly aggrieved by Sen. Mitt Romney’s sole GOP vote to boot him from the White House.

Trump had shown uncharacteristic control toward the Utah senator during the impeachment process, heeding the advice of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lay off individual senators ahead of the impeachment trial.

In the weeks leading up to the Senate trial, Trump gave Romney space to make a decision.

He did not court or pressure him, or phone him directly and frequently as he often does with Republican lawmakers.

Both Romney allies on Capitol Hill and advisers close to the White House told the president they believed Romney would ultimately vote to acquit him.

With less than 24 hours to go until the impeachment vote, Romney allies kept signaling to Republican lawmakers and the White House that Romney was leaning toward acquittal.

All the while, Romney’s office avoided contact with the White House.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the chatter about Romney went silent, a fact White House aides reported to the president.

Trump and White House officials later learned that Romney had given embargoed interviews to the Atlantic, The New York Times, and the Washington Post on his decision to convict Trump.

 

WATCH ROMNEY REMARKS ON TRUMP’S GUILT:

 

Trump felt hoodwinked.

And it showed.

Trump began needling Romney this morning at the traditionally nonpartisan National Prayer Breakfast, chiding the senator’s declaration that his faith had helped guide him to convict the president.

Faith, Trump said, was merely a “crutch” for Romney.

Hours later, speaking from the East Room at the White House, Trump cut down Romney as bitter about his failed 2012 run for president.

“The only one that voted against us was a guy that can’t stand the fact that he ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency,” Trump said.

Hours after that, the White House blasted out talking points to its surrogates, titled “Romney (Once Again) Ditches Principles to Seek Far-Left’s Adulation.”

“Sadly, Romney’s decision was unsurprising as this display of self-serving political expedience has come to define his political career,” it read.

Donald Trump Jr. shared a meme on social media referring to Romney as “a pussy.”

The meme posted to Instagram by Trump Jr. shows Romney wearing high-waisted jeans with the caption: “Mom Jeans Because you’re a pussy.”

The president’s son added his own caption as well, writing, “Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now.” He also claimed the senator “officially [became] a member of the resistance” and that he should be expelled from the GOP over his vote.

 

 

Josh Holmes, president of the consulting firm Cavalry and a former McConnell chief of staff said he has “no motivation to question Sen. Romney’s motives.”

“But as a Republican watching this entire process unfold, you can’t help but to remember the process he underwent in 2012 when, everyone who is now praising his moves as the second-coming, said he was a stiff, cancer-causing, tax cheat,” Holmes said, recalling attacks against Romney during his 2012 presidential run against Barack Obama. “The people defending him from those unjust claims were all of his Republican colleagues who he disappointed with this vote.”

Yet there may not be much Trump can do to exact revenge on Romney, apart from dishing out mean girl insults and trying to socially isolate the lawmaker from the Republican party.

At age 72, Romney is toward the end of his career, exorbitantly wealthy and does not face re-election until 2024. His own hometown paper applauded his vote to convict Trump on one of the articles of impeachment.

“All Utahns, all Americans, regardless of politics, ideology or religion should be duly impressed with Romney’s decision to follow his heart and his conscience — and his God — in doing the right thing when doing the right thing was difficult,” the Salt Lake Tribune wrote in an editorial published after the vote.

McConnell himself told reporters on Wednesday that there would be no retribution against Romney in the Senate, nor would Romney be in the “dog house.”

“We don’t have any dog houses here,” McConnell said. “The most important vote is the next vote.”

Trump and his allies, however, do not have to corral Romney’s vote for anything of note in the coming months.

And, as Romney himself noted in his floor speech announcing his decision, the Utah senator already votes with Trump’s position nearly 80 percent of the time.

 

Attribution:Politico
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