‘Traitor’ Romney booed in Republican flare-up

Donald Trump remains popular among Republicans despite losing last year’s election

Divisions in the US Republican Party were on show again at the weekend, when Senator Mitt Romney was booed at an event in Utah over his votes to impeach former president Donald Trump.

As Mr Romney took the stage at a state party convention of about 2,100 people in West Valley City, delegates shouted that he was a “traitor” and a “communist”.

It was the latest example of tension among Republicans over the party’s direction after last year’s electoral defeat of Mr Trump, who remains popular among conservatives.

Mr Romney, a former presidential nominee, was the only Republican to vote twice to impeach Mr Trump.

He defended himself on stage, saying he was a “person who says what he thinks, and I don't hide the fact that I wasn't a fan of our last president's character issues”.

Mr Romney started to speak again but was cut short by booing.

After a pause, he asked the crowd: "Aren't you embarrassed?”

But delegates rejected a motion to censure Mr Romney for his votes at Mr Trump’s impeachment trials. The vote failed by 798 votes to 711.

Utah delegate Don Guymon, author of the resolution, said Mr Romney’s votes against Mr Trump hurt the constitution and the party.

“This was a process driven by Democrats who hated Trump,” Mr Guymon said.

“Romney’s vote in the first impeachment emboldened Democrats who continued to harass Trump.”

Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, defended Mr Romney on Sunday, saying she was appalled by treatment of him in Utah.

"Mitt Romney is an outstanding senator who serves his state and our country well," Ms Collins told CNN.

The Republican Party was not led by “just one person", she said, in reference to Mr Trump's grip on it.

Updated: May 3, 2021 09:21 AM

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