Mitt Romney, once considered a villain to the left when he opposed then President Obama, is suddenly being celebrated by Democrats and the liberal media for going against Trump on impeachment witnesses.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel named a segment on the impeachment trial “Mitt Romney is our only hope.”
According to a new NY Times articles, Democrats have also hailed Romney as a potential hero, though perhaps not a very effective one.
NY Times reports it’s been one of those spectacle weeks on Capitol Hill, the likes of which history might just stop to recognize, even if Trump-era Washington pauses for nothing.
There were big crowds, special rules in place, Alan M. Dershowitz mugging for photographs and Triumph, the canine puppet known for his ambush mockery of celebrities, trying to score an interview with Senator Mitt Romney, to no avail.
You could always recognize Mr. Romney, Republican of Utah, racing around the Capitol. He drew big press scrums and wore a bemused grin — a face to indicate that he had seen some things in a career that has taken some unforeseen turns, particularly now.
Mr. Romney is the rare Senate Republican — actually the lone Senate Republican until late Thursday — who is vocally pushing for witnesses to be called in President Trump’s impeachment trial. He is also the only Senate Republican who is seen as a possible vote to convict the president, an added distinction since Mr. Trump got every House Republican to fall in line.
All of which places upon Mr. Romney a level of curiosity that goes beyond the quasi-celebrity treatment he already receives as the last pre-Trump standard-bearer of a Republican Party that feels about 80 years removed from the party that nominated him eight years ago.
“Hey, it’s Mitt Romney!” …. “One question, senator!” …. “Senator Romney! Senator Romney!”
As Mr. Romney was beating a brisk retreat from the Senate floor during a break in the trial on Wednesday afternoon, a small pack of reporters yelled after him like kids chasing an ice cream truck. He ended up in his hideaway office tucked into the entrails of the Capitol.
“Yes, it is a little unusual,” Mr. Romney said in an interview, referring to the trial — specifically, to something “unusual” that had happened at the trial just before a break.
He was sitting at his desk in the back left corner of the Senate chamber. He looked attentive, jotted down notes and managed to refrain from sipping the contraband chocolate milk he was busted for drinking out of a bottle during the Tuesday proceeding.
Then, suddenly, the House impeachment managers started dropping Mr. Romney’s name into their testimony. The House’s lead prosecutor, Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, posed a theoretical circumstance in which President Barack Obama was discovered to be hitting up his Russian counterpart for dirt on his 2012 opponent, Mr. Romney, in exchange for military aid. Then two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, shot back with a question for Mr. Schiff about whether Mr. Obama would have the authority to ask for an investigation of Mr. Romney’s son if he was being paid a million dollars by some shady Russian company.
At which point Mr. Romney raised his hands and flashed something between a smile and a grimace in the direction of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding judge who had just read out the questions containing these imagined Romney scenarios. It was an expression to indicate this was not exactly a normal circumstance for any juror to find himself in, let alone a juror who ran twice for the job that the current impeached occupant of the White House (who had recently called said juror “a pompous ass”) now holds.
Mr. Romney has also become a magnet for nostalgia lately — at least among Democrats. “He is a decent, honorable man,” former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in a recent interview of Mr. Romney. Mr. Biden conceded that it was unlikely that he would be running for president right now if it were Mr. Romney seeking re-election, not Mr. Trump.
“I think this is Senator Romney’s moment to shine,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic presidential candidate who was in Washington for the impeachment trial. She was referring specifically to Mr. Romney’s support for calling witnesses.
“Hopefully he can bring some people with him,” Ms. Klobuchar said. She meant Republicans, a prospect that was looking more and more unlikely. By most indications, Mr. Romney’s ability to recruit Republican colleagues to his position has been minimal at best. After the Senate adjourned Thursday night, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would vote in favor of considering additional witnesses and documents. But Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced he would vote no.
“I know there are some who feel if we open the door, we’d have tons of witnesses and court battles,” Mr. Romney said. He said he would propose an arrangement in which each side would get to call one or two witnesses, and then have 30 days to produce them — regardless of what procedural or legal roadblocks were placed before them.
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