Mitt Romney: a solitary GOP voice battling Trump for the soul of the Republican Party

WASHINGTON – When Sen. Mitt Romney met with constituents this month in his home state of Utah, he didn’t shy away from the topic that has put him in the national spotlight: his tensions with President Donald Trump.

Trump, battling an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives over the Ukraine scandal, was furious when Romney called it “wrong and appalling” for the president to urge foreign governments to investigate Joe Biden, his political rival. That prompted Trump to blast Romney as a “pompous ass” and tool of the Democratic party.

Romney told USA TODAY that during a series of town halls in heavily Republican Utah, he asked constituents for their own views on his criticisms of Trump over Ukraine, Syriaand other matters.

“How many of you in the room think I’m being too tough on the president?” he asked as about half of those in the audience raised their hands. “And how many think I’m not being tough enough?” leading the other half to do so.

Jack Gruber, USAT

Romney said he didn’t conduct the impromptu poll because he was having second thoughts about voicing his opinions, but, instead, to show constituents that they can respectfully disagree with one another.

“People tend to associate with people of like mind, and they assume everyone thinks the way they do,” he said. “And so, our town hall meetings have been quite civil.”

Civility has been in short supply in the nation’s capital, where Trump is fighting an impeachment investigationhe says is an illegitimate “witch hunt.”

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