Utah Sen. Mitt Romney posted a scathing condemnation of President Donald Trump on Saturday morning after Trump commuted the sentence of his former adviser Roger Stone. Stone was just days away from entering prison for witness tampering and lying to the U.S. Congress in the president's impeachment trial. Romney called this "unprecedented, historic corruption."
"An American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president," Romney marveled in his early morning tweet. The senator and former Republican presidential hopeful has been one of the most outspoken voices against Trump in his own political party for the last few years, and particularly in recent months. Romney even voted to convict the president of abuse of power during his impeachment trial — a symbolic vote, making him the first U.S. Senator ever to vote to convict a president of his own party during an impeachment trial.
Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020
Romney was the first prominent Republican to criticize the president for commuting Stone's sentence, and so far most others seem to be standing behind him on this issue. Sen. Lindsey G Graham tweeted his support for the move on Friday, and Rep. Jim Jones of Ohio did the same.
That is not to say that Romney is alone in being horrified by this latest move by Trump. On Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders praised Romney for standing against this move, voicing his own belief that this is an act of corruption.
"Mitt Romney and I hold different opinions on virtually everything. But I agree with him strongly that Trump's commutation of Roger Stone's sentence is 'unprecedented, historic corruption. The key political question of our time is: where are all the other Republicans?" Sander tweeted. "Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence, while Black and Brown kids sit in jail. This is why we need major reform of a broken and racist criminal justice system. No more two-tier justice. Rich or poor, Black, white or Latino — we need 'equal justice under law.'"
Trump himself defended his decision to commute Stone's sentence on Saturday after it was announced by his press secretary on Friday night. He tweeted: "Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place. It is the other side that are criminals, including Biden and Obama, who spied on my campaign - AND GOT CAUGHT!"
So far, Trump has not responded to the criticism from Romney or others for commuting Stone's sentence. He has, however, retweeted some support from political pundits.