On Episode 152 of War Room: Impeachment Stephen K. Bannon, Raheem Kassam, and Jason Miller discussed Mitt Romney’s vote against President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial with attorney David Rivkin.
“What I find truly reprehensible is Romney’s behavior,” Rivkin said. “In some ways I wish I could explain it by political cowardice: not a great feature on one’s character, but at least understandable. But given his political situation and given the state he’s from, Utah, where I think Trump’s approval rating is over 60 per cent.”
“The notion that he kind of gave a vacuous statement trying to make it as a matter of principle. But what principle?” Rivkin continued. “The only thing I can explain is sheer hostility/hatred towards the President. And that’s a really bad way to behave, even for a politician.”
“Really boiling down what Romney said on the floor,” Miller elaborated, “it came across to me in just a very crass, cynical, direct way: God made me do it. It was ‘I’m a man of faith, so therefore I must vote for this article of impeachment.’ It just struck me as being very shallow, and not very sincere. Whether he’s saying other people in the room aren’t just as strong in their faith as he is; or trying to shirk responsibility saying ‘oh, well, maybe if I didn’t have the strong faith.'”
“It really just struck a weird tone in my opinion,” he continued. “It wasn’t a legally-based tone. There was a lot of this pious, self-indulgent moral high ground that he had. It really struck me as: ‘I’m better than you.'”
“I think this [vote] is going to be a real issue for Mitt,” Miller added.
Rivkin responded: “I don’t know of any spiritual reason you can articulate. Your point is that it’s kind of arrogant, holier than thou… It makes no sense. What could be a spiritual reason to vote for a Constitutionally flawed article of impeachment? I don’t know.”
Later in the episode, the trio of hosts revisited Romney’s vote.
“Out of all of the House and Senate Republicans combined, you had one [defector]: Willard Mitt Romney was the only one. And he’s a small, bitter, jealous man who looks in the mirror and wishes he could see Donald Trump in the reflection,” Miller said.
“You’re not buying the spiritual journey,” Bannon asked, “the spiritual exercises of Senator Romney?”
Miller replied: “I see a man who is bitter he’s not President of the United States; who is sad all of his money in the world could not buy him a Secretary of State position; and who has always wanted to be something bigger and better than what he is. But what he realizes is right now he’s stuck. And he’s never going to get past that hurdle to be President.”
“Unless something else happens in the future,” Bannon said, “he’ll be remembered not for his Presidential run, his failed effort to beat Barack Obama. He’ll be remembered for this moment, for this vote.”
“Not for governor of Massachusetts,” Miller added. “Not the one who saved the winter games in Salt Lake City. He will be remembered as this: the absolute political trader who turned his back… Think about all the constituents, all the people who voted for him back in Utah. They’ve got to be thinking, ‘man, when are we going to get rid of this loser? We’ve got four more years.’”
“Well you may say that, and the Republican base may agree,” Kassam responded, “but Mitch McConnell doesn’t agree. Mitch McConnell, at the end of this process, saying today: ‘we don’t have any dog houses here. The most important vote is the next vote,’ expressing an interest in effectively immediate forgiveness for Willard Mitt Romney.”
Bannon asked if McConnell said “when the Senate Judiciary Committee is empaneled now to sit down and start the subpoenas going out?”
“Not a sausage,” Kassam replied.