Speaking from the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump found time to admonish those who unsuccessfully voted to convict him of abuse of power last night. Romney, the sole Republican to side with the Democrats, is the first Senator in the history of the USA to vote to convict his own party’s President.
The President commented that he did not like “people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” a reference to Romney’s invocation of his devout Mormon faith when justifying his decision to disobey the whip. He also took a shot at senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi when he remarked that he disliked “people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so,” in response to Pelosi’s frequent claims of praying for her political nemesis.
Many found Trump’s unusual use of the National Prayer Breakfast as a political platform striking, including Pelosi, who labelled it “completely inappropriate.” She used her speech at the same event to espouse a less political message of keeping in mind the poor and persecuted, and reiterated at a later press conference that she does indeed pray for the President “sincerely and without anguish.”
Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for President in the 2012 election, was mocked on twitter by the President for not beating Obama, and faced widespread backlash from fellow Republicans, with many calling for the Senator to be expelled from the party.
Many of the right rallied to heap vicious criticism upon the rogue senator, with Donald Trump Jr sharing a meme on twitter which showed a picture of Romney wearing “mom jeans” and branded him a “pu**y”. Romney is one of the few remaining Republicans who openly air their doubts about the current administration, in the face of the record 94% of party members who approve of his performance in office.
Romney’s hounding, from being called a “useful idiot” to the Democrats by Ann Coulter and a “sore loser” by multiple Congressmen, shows that there is no room for criticism of the Commander-in-Chief, at least not in the public sphere. Many worry that this lowering of Presidential standards within the Republican party will have dire consequences, maybe long after Trump leads office. By remonstrating moderate voices, or even expelling them, the Republicans risk further devaluing their once-illustrious party that was home to greats such as Lincoln and Grant. What Romney will do with his new-found reputation as a John McCain type figure is yet to be seen, but may well play in his favour.
Written by POI correspondent Max Ingleby