PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump Jr. says he was just messing — only he didn't say "messing" — with Mitt Romney when he tweeted that the Utah senator should be kicked out of the Republican Party for voting to impeach President Donald Trump last year.
Romney was the sole Republican senator who voted to convict then-President Donald Trump of abuse of power in February 2020. His decision drew harsh criticism from many in the GOP, including Facebook pages calling for his removal and a hashtag, #RecallRomney, that went viral.
Trump Jr. also chimed in.
"Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he's joining them now. He's now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP," he tweeted.
Trump Jr. apparently was just having fun with the senator.
"You know I can't just kick him out of the party, right?" Ronna McDaniel, Romney's niece, told Trump Jr. on the phone shortly after the tweet, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender's new book, "Frankly We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost."
"I'm just (expletive) with him," Trump Jr. told McDaniel, Business Insider reported, citing the book. "This is not some thought-out strategy coordinated with the Republican caucus."
Trump Jr. also posted a meme of Romney on Instagram with the words "mom jeans" along with a derogatory word for cowardly after the impeachment vote.
In February, Trump Jr. again went after Romney in a nearly four-minute social media post, saying, "Why doesn't Mitt Romney just become a Democrat?" Isn't it time for Mitt Romney just become a Democrat once and for all?
Isn't it time for Mitt Romney just become a Democrat once and for all? https://t.co/ZPmYkS6kKr— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 24, 2021
Romney said in a Senate floor speech before the 2020 impeachment vote that he was pressured to stand with the GOP team.
"But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside," he said.
While taking a victory lap the day after the Senate acquitted him, President Trump mocked Romney for citing his religious faith, calling it a "crutch." He also tweeted a video calling Romney a "Democrat secret asset."
President Trump mentioned Romney in a tweet the next day while saying how "surprised" and "disappointed" he was that Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, voted to remove him from office after all he's done for the state.
"Every Republican Senator, except Romney, many highly religious people, all very smart, voted against the Impeachment Hoax," he tweeted.
Romney voted to impeach Trump a second time after the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection earlier this year. Trump was acquitted in both impeachment trials.