A leader for the Conservative Political Action Conference announced Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, would not be invited to attend the 2020 gathering after he voted with Democrats to have witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“BREAKING: The ‘extreme conservative’ and Junior Senator from the great state of Utah, @SenatorRomney is formally NOT invited to #CPAC2020,” Chairman Matt Schlapp tweeted Friday.
Romney, who was the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee against Barack Obama, was one of two Republican senators who split from their party in voting to hear more testimony about the president’s conduct with Ukraine, along with Susan Collins of Maine. They voted to seek witnesses generally, and particularly to hear from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, whose testimony was expected to contradict Trump’s defense.
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The Senate rejected those motions 51-49 in a victory for Trump, whose legal defense team argued that the Senate should not be responsible for calling new witnesses that the House of Representatives could have pursued in its impeachment inquiry.
Trump was impeached by the House on charges of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival and obstructing Congress by not cooperating with its inquiry. He is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-majority Senate next week.
Romney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on the CPAC decision.
The annual conservative conference has become a major gathering for the president’s supporters in recent years, and Trump has been featured as a main speaker the past three years.
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Romney has spoken at CPAC multiple times, including when he labeled himself “severely conservative” in 2012 and for his first major public speaking appearance after he lost to Obama. But the Utah senator has found himself in the crosshairs of attacks from Trump as a critic of the president’s actions.
Trump has referred to Romney as a “pompous a–” and a “fool” on Twitter and has mocked his presidential loss. Romney had been openly critical of Trump early on in the impeachment process for seeking foreign investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
“Somebody please wake up Mitt Romney and tell him that my conversation with the Ukrainian President was a congenial and very appropriate one, and my statement on China pertained to corruption, not politics,” Trump tweeted in October. “If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!”
Speakers at this year’s CPAC, which is scheduled for Feb. 26-29, include GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and conservative activist Candace Owens.
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