The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) officially snubbed Utah Sen. Mitt Romney after he voted in favor of hearing from witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) broke with Republicans and also supported hearing from witnesses.
According to Matt Schlapp, the Chairman of the American Conservative Union, the hosts of CPAC, Romney is "formally NOT invited" to the 2020 conference.
Sen. Mike Lee, Utah's other senator, a frequent CPAC speaker, went to bat for his colleague.
Mitt Romney is a good friend and an excellent Senator. We have disagreed about a lot in this trial. But he has my respect for the thoughtfulness, integrity, and guts he has shown throughout this process. Utah and the Senate are lucky to have him.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) January 31, 2020
Schlapp's announcement brought about mixed feelings and reactions.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman (RNC) Michael Steele thought the announcement was "juvenile.'
And in case I wasn’t clear for those senators who in their outrage shook their heads and wailed “it’s not true” at @RepAdamSchiff when told the White House threatened to punish Republicans who voted against Trump: head meet pike.— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) February 1, 2020
I’m sure you will now rally to @MittRomney, right?
The Washington Examiner's Executive Editor, Philip Klein, believed CPAC was flipflopping.
So @cpac welcomed Romney for years after he supported an individual mandate and signed into law a healthcare bill that was model for Romneycare. But wanting to hear from Bolton (a former board member of the org who was given an award for his conservatism) was a bridge to far.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 1, 2020
Here’s @mschlapp praising Bolton in press release naming him as a “Conservative in the Spotlight” described as, “ a distinction awarded to a conservative leader who acts boldly to defend conservative principles.” Now merely wanting to listen to Bolton gets you banned from @CPAC— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 1, 2020
Obviously meant “model for Obamacare” in first Tweet, but twitter doesnt have edit function.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 1, 2020
Others thought Romney brought this on himself by failing to be a conservative.
Mitt Romney is an American Coward. He has loads of money and a safe seat, but cannot bring himself to stand up for the values he pretends to espouse. https://t.co/IKHoC4fEVl— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) February 1, 2020
I am going to CPAC because am better than Mitt Romney:— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) January 31, 2020
- I created jobs in America and didn’t outsource them to foreign countries
- I served my country in uniform
- I have never lost an election, especially one I should have won
- CNN hates me
- I am no one’s bitch@mschlapp https://t.co/BFs3dTnswv
One America News Network's Jack Posobiec believes this is a bad call, but for different reasons:
Announcing Romney is banned from CPAC as a sitting Senator only raises Romney’s stature— Jack Posobiec???? (@JackPosobiec) February 1, 2020
It crowns him as the leader of the not-Trump Republicans, will generate lots of favorable press for him, and he can fundraise/organize off of it
Romney previously spoke at the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation, which attracts roughly 10,000 attendees from across the nation, on multiple occasions. He spoke at the conference in 2012 after securing the Republican nomination and again in 2013 after being defeated by then-President Barack Obama.