By Marisa Schultz – Fox News
Mitt Romney will have a long road to redemption with the GOP – at least as long as President Trump is in office.
For those closest to the president, the business titan who was the party standard-bearer just eight years ago may never be forgiven over his dramatic vote to convict Trump on abuse of power this week. He could face primary challenges on top of the sustained scorn of Trump backers in his own state. His own family has a beef with him. The U.S. Capitol will become an instantly more challenging labyrinth of relationships.
The Utah senator acknowledged as much in a Fox News interview, saying he expects “enormous” consequences for his impeachment trial decision.
“In a political sense, he is ostracized. He is excommunicated. He has lost all credibility. He should hire lots of security guards — I don’t wish him any physical harm, but people are furious!” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, who already disinvited Romney from the popular CPAC convention this month. (Romney won the CPAC straw poll in 2012.)
As for whether Romney can be forgiven by Republicans, Schlapp had a terse answer: “Never.”
But in the more cordial halls of the Capitol, Romney may yet find his place once more. Lawmakers, even as they voiced disappointment in his decision to cast the lone defecting GOP vote against Trump at the close of his impeachment trial, took a less hostile view of Romney’s decision and role in the Republican Party.
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, immediately dismissed the notion that Romney should be thrown out of the party, as Trump’s eldest son suggested: “Heavens no.”
“There’s a lot of anger there, but I think this too shall pass,” added fellow Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart.
An effort in Utah to allow voters to recall their senators suddenly picked up steam. Although the author of the legislation said the bill was never aimed at Romney specifically, the effort caught fire since Romney’s impeachment vote on Wednesday, the Deseret News reports.
The bill, sponsored by GOP Utah state Rep. Tim Quinn, would create a process by which a recall vote could go on the ballot after a petition by voters. Quinn said he’s been inundated this week with phone calls and emails that are “100 percent positive to the bill.”
The American Conservative Union is backing the recall legislation. But Schlapp said Romney should do Utah voters a favor and just resign.
“That would be the honorable thing [to do],” he told Fox News.
Romney isn’t up for reelection until 2024.
Other Trump loyalists said Romney will be paying the price at the ballot box.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who attended the impeachment vote, said Romney will be a “one-term senator.”
Read more here.