SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney said he hasn’t talked to, texted or emailed any of his Republican colleagues about impeachment, and doesn’t intend to.
“I haven’t discussed that with anybody,” the Utah Republican said.
Senators, for the most part, appear from their public statements to have an open mind about whether President Donald Trump should be impeached or removed, Romney said, adding he doesn’t want to “intrude” on that.
Romney answered questions from Utah media for about 15 minutes Thursday, mostly reiterating comments he has made about Trump, Ukraine and Syria the past few weeks that ignited an ongoing Twitter feud with the president.
A lone Republican voice criticizing Trump over his phone call with the president of Ukraine, Romney said he understands why others have chosen to stay silent at this point because they want to wait for more information.
“But there’s no question that on its face, asking China to investigate Mr. Biden, asking Ukraine to do so, that’s simply the wrong thing to do,” he said.
“I think everyone understands that asking a foreign government to investigate one’s political opponent is wrong,” Romney said. “I don’t think there’s any exception to that.”
Romney said he’s withholding judgment on whether that’s an impeachable or removable offense.
I think everyone understands that asking a foreign government to investigate one’s political opponent is wrong. I don’t think there’s any exception to that.
“Has the president done some things that I think are wrong? Yes. But the decision as to whether or not to remove the president is one that would have to be made upon further analysis and evidence that’s brought forward, I presume, through the House process,” he said.
Romney also wouldn’t weigh in on whether he thinks the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is the right thing to do or whether Trump is the subject of a “witch hunt” as the president himself and some Republicans have suggested.
“I don’t want to stamp it with a stamp of approval nor do I want to say it’s a mistake on their part,” he said. “It’s something that they’ve undertaken and we’ll see where it leads.”
Romney also declined to say if he thinks the Trump administration should cooperate with the House investigation. The White House has refused to cooperate with the inquiry, though Trump opened the door to participating if a House vote authorized the investigation and if Democrats commit to following rules he sees as fair.
The senator’s sharp criticism of the president has drawn some nasty responses, including Trump calling him a “pompous ass” and a “fool” on Twitter.
Romney said he doesn’t follow Trump on Twitter, “so I don’t see all the tweets.” He added that criticism comes with being a politician and he doesn’t worry about those things.
The 2012 GOP presidential nominee again put to rest any speculation that he would challenge Trump in 2020.
“There’s no circumstance I can conceive of that would have me running for national office again,” Romney said. “I’ve tried that twice. Twice is enough, all right, so I’m not doing that again.”
As he has said before, Romney said he expects Trump will be the Republican nominee and win reelection.
On Thursday, Romney again called Trump’s decision to withdraw about 150 troops from northern Syria a mistake as Turkish forces continued their assault on Syrian Kurds who have played a central role in aiding the U.S.-led fight against ISIS.
“It’s a tragic day for the people who have lost their lives, and I think it’s very sad for American foreign policy to show that we were unwilling to stand by the people who worked with us, our allies and our friends, the Kurds,” Romney said.