Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who has condemned GOP attempts to subvert the will of the voters in the presidential election, lambasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday for encouraging supporters to disrupt the peaceful transition of power in “an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney wrote in remarks that he would have made in the Senate before Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.”
He warned that “those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”
Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election, urged his fellow lawmakers “to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”
Romney’s condemnation comes after rioters propelled by Trump breached the building as lawmakers tallied Electoral College votes, scrambling the timeline of when Congress would resume the count and declare President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election.
Despite pressure to call off the rioters, Trump appeared reluctant to condemn the day’s violence. Only after pleading from aides and congressional allies inside the besieged Capitol building did Trump release a taped video urging the mass of his supporters to “go home,” while still fanning their misplaced grievances about a stolen election.
In the same video, he praised the crowd, who broke into the Capitol using force, stole items from its rooms and posed for photographs in the legislative chambers.
Romney joins several other members of the GOP who have lamented the President’s handling of the day’s events. House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney said the President is “abusing the trust of the American people and abusing the trust of the people who supported him.”
And former President George W. Bush, the last living Republican president, derided the rioters in a pointed statement on Wednesday, calling the scene “sickening and heartbreaking” and lamenting “the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election.”
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, Ali Zaslav, Kristin Wilson, Jeremy Herb, Clare Foran, Phil Mattingly, Ali Main, and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.