The Utah Republican previously voted to remove Trump from office

By Virginia Chamlee
October 21, 2020 05:44 PM
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Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a onetime Republican presidential candidate turned Trump enemy, told reporters on Wednesday that he has already cast his vote in the 2020 general election — but he did not vote for Donald Trump

“I did not vote for President Trump," Romney, 73, told CNN reporter Manu Raju, who shared the news on Twitter.

Romney's office confirmed his vote to PEOPLE but declined to say who he did vote for or why.

A former leader of his party, Romney has a fractured relationship with Republicans' current standard-bearer. A lifelong conservative who himself ran as the Republican nominee for president in 2012, Romney has frequently butted heads with Trump, 74, since the latter came in to office.

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Romney slammed Trump as a "a phony" and "a fraud," urging voters to take a deeper look at the then-businessman's record.

"He's playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat," Romney said in early 2016.

Once Trump secured the Republican nomination and, eventually, the White House, the imprimatur of the presidency seemed to mend their relationship — at least, temporarily.

Trump considered Romney for a position as secretary of state (with photos of the two dining together going viral) and ultimately backed Romney in his 2018 successful Senate run, with the former Utah governor praising Trump's first year in office just months later.

But the civility had a shelf life.

In 2019, Romney issued a strongly-worded critique of Trump's character in the Washington Post.

In an even more stunning move, the senator broke ranks with his GOP colleagues this February to vote in support of convicting and removing Trump from office during Trump's impeachment trial over his Ukraine scandal. (Trump responded by calling him a “pompous ‘ass’ “ and more recently said he was “a man with very little talent or political skill.”)

Earlier this month, Romney singled out the president for failing to condemn the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

In a separate statement, he urged politicians across the spectrum to tone down hateful rhetoric in the weeks leading up to the election.

"Leaders must tone it down," Romney said in his Oct. 13 statement. "I’m troubled by our politics, as it has 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."

Despite his continued disavowal of Trump, Romney's voting record in the Senate largely tracks the president. And he recently announcing that he intended to vote to confirm Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, later this month.