Republican Sen. Mitt Romney confirmed Wednesday that he has cast his vote in the 2020 presidential election, though he did not vote for President Donald Trump, the leader of his own party. Romney, who was the only Republican in the U.S. Senate to vote for Trump’s removal from office during this year's impeachment trial, was asked by CNN Congressional reporter Manu Raju about this year's election and who he is putting his support behind.
"I did not vote for President Trump," the first-term Republican senator, who cast his vote in Utah, confirmed. He did not, however, say if he voted for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden or if he wrote in another candidate. Asked who he voted for, he instead said, "That's something I'm keeping private at this stage."
Romney's vote isn't necessarily a surprise, as it follows a long history of a tempestuous relationship with Trump, which goes back as far as 2016 when Trump was making his bid for the Oval Office. According to the Associated Press, during that election cycle, he wrote in the name of his wife, Ann, rather than vote for Trump, though their relationship seemed to thaw not long after when Trump courted Romney for secretary of state, a job that ultimately went to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. In 2018, Trump also endorsed Romney when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Utah, though since then, the two have regularly criticized one another.
Following Trump's NBC town hall last week, Romney voiced concern over the president's refusal to denounce QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy group that the FBI warns is a potential domestic terror threat. Romney said Trump's "unwillingness to denounce an absurd and dangerous conspiracy theory last night continues an alarming pattern: politicians and parties refuse to forcefully and convincingly repudiate groups like Antifa, white supremacists and conspiracy peddlers."
Around that same time, Romney, in a Twitter statement, also expressed frustration with the nation’s political environment, which he said has turned into a "hate-filled morass." He said the country's policies have "moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation — let alone the birthplace of modern democracy."
Speaking to CNN, Romney also expressed concern over Trump's impact on the GOP, stating that he believed "our party is in trouble with young people, increasingly with older people, with minorities. And those young people we were in trouble with five years ago are now voting, and so we've got some real work to do."