Michigan-born Romney, Amash buck conventional politics and punish Trump

Sen. Mitt Romney (left) and Rep. Justin Amash (right)

Two conservative Capitol Hill lawmakers with Michigan ties voted against President Donald Trump during historic impeachment proceedings. 

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was born in Detroit and is a son of George Romney, former Michigan governor from 1962 to 1969, and Lenore Romney, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate. Mitt Romney’s brother is former Michigan State University Trustee Scott Romney and his niece, Ronna McDaniel is a former Michigan GOP chair who now heads the Republican National Committee (RNC) and is close to Trump.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.) was born in Grand Rapids to Arab Christian parents who immigrated to the United States. He is a constitutional lawyer who used to have strong ties to the billionaire DeVos family, of which Trump U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a member.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday acquitted President Donald Trump on two charges of impeachment. Romney voted to convict Trump on one of the two charges. 

Amash, all Michigan Dems vote to greenlight Trump impeachment inquiry

Last December, Amash voted to impeach Trump. The libertarian-leaning lawmaker’s strong opposition to Trump helped lead to his decision to bolt from the Republican Party last July when he became the chamber’s only independent. 

No Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted to acquit Trump. Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump. The vote for the first article tallied with a 52-48 “not guilty” vote. The second article, an obstruction of Congress charge, fell along straight party lines, 53-47 for acquittal. 

Both articles fell short of the necessary 67 votes (or two-thirds) of the Senate to trigger removal of office. Trump is only the third U.S. president to be impeached in American history. 

“My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate,” Romney said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.  “But irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me. I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. 

“They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong. We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.”

Trump impeachment trial gets personal in U.S. Senate

The House voted in December to impeach Trump on two articles while he was speaking at a rally in Battle Creek. Amash voted to impeach him on both counts. 

“Impeachment is not about policy disagreements or ineffective governance, nor is it about criminality based on statutes that did not exist at the time our Constitution was written,” he said at the time. “Impeachment is about maintaining the integrity of the office of the presidency and ensuring that executive power is directed toward proper ends in accordance with the law.”

While Romney faced blowback from some Republicans, including Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who called him a “pussy” on Instagram, Amash thanked the senator and 2012 GOP presidential nominee on Wednesday via tweet

“Thank you, @SenatorRomney, for upholding your oath to support and defend the Constitution. You will never regret putting your faith in God and doing right according to the law and your conscience.”

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.