Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican of Utah who is known for his outspoken criticism of former President Donald J. Trump, was booed and heckled by members of his own party as he spoke at the Utah Republican Party convention Saturday.
Despite the negative reception, which was reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, a vote of no confidence from Mr. Romney failed later on Saturday.
Mr. Romney, one of many lawmakers to speak at the convention, took the stage to an overwhelming chorus of boos, though some of the approximately 2,100 delegates in attendance applauded and applauded him.
“Now you know me as someone 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,” he said, according to video footage from the convention.
Mr. Romney was booed intermittently as he addressed the convention, which was held at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City. At times, members of the public have used his breaks to shout insults, including “traitor,” a word some Republicans have used to describe him for what they see as his lack of loyalty to Mr. Trump.
As the boos continued, Mr. Romney stepped back from his prepared remarks to ask the crowd, “Aren’t you embarrassed?”
“I understand that I have a few people who don’t like me very much, and I’m sorry about that,” he said. “But I express my mind as I rightly believe it, and I follow my consciousness as I rightly believe it.”
“You can boo as much as you want,” he added, reminding delegates that he was the party’s candidate for president in 2012 and that his father, George W. Romney, also a Republican, was governor of the. Michigan. “I have been a Republican all my life.”
Mr. Romney’s office and the Utah Republican Party did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
Mr. Romney, who has represented Utah in the Senate since 2019, was the first senator in U.S. history to vote to impeach a president of his own party in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020. Mr. Trump, he said at the time, was “guilty of an appalling breach of public trust” for his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate its political rivals, including Joseph R. Biden Jr.
A year later, Mr. Romney was one of seven Republicans to vote to convict Mr. Trump in his second impeachment trial.
He did not hesitate to criticize the former president. When Mr. Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results, Mr. Romney accused him of trying to “reverse the will of the people.”
“It’s hard to imagine worse and more undemocratic action from a sitting US president,” Mr Romney wrote on Twitter.
He was one of many prominent Republicans who said he did not vote for Mr. Trump in the November election.
In January, Mr. Romney was heckled at the Salt Lake City airport and on a plane as he traveled to Washington for a joint session of Congress to certify President Biden’s electoral victory. In one video, passengers on the plane can be heard chanting “traitor, traitor, traitor” and at least one person in the video called him to resign.
On the night of January 6, hours after a group of Mr. Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the vote, Mr. Romney addressed the Senate: “We come together because of the hurt pride of a selfish man and the indignation of supporters whom he had deliberately misinformed over the past two months and urged action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurgency provoked by the President of the United States.
An effort to censor Mr. Romney in the Utah legislature failed in February. After what the Salt Lake Tribune described as a “vigorous debate,” delegates to the state party’s convention on Saturday narrowly voted against its censorship, 798 to 711.
Don Guymon, a delegate from Davis County, sponsored the resolution. He told The Associated Press that Mr. Romney’s impeachment votes “have done damage to our party, to our country, and ultimately to the US Constitution.”
But Mr. Romney has found support elsewhere within the Republican Party. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said in a interview with CNN Sunday that she was “appalled” by the censorship attempt and the boos.
“We are not a party led by one person,” she said. on “State of the Union”.