Utah Senator Mitt Romney once again emerged as the leading anti-Trump voice in the Republican Party, with a Saturday morning statement laying into Donald Trump’s Friday night commutation of his old friend Roger Stone’s prison sentence for his convictions on charges he obstructed investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, even as many of his GOP colleagues remained silent.
Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020
In June, Stone was convicted in a jury trial on seven charges that he obstructed justice and lied under oath during Congressional investigations into Russian interference. Stone, who has known Trump for decades and encouraged him to run for president, has proclaimed his innocence and claimed that he was only charged as a way for prosecutors to put pressure on him to flip on the president. As late as Friday afternoon, hours before the commutation, Stone told an interviewer that he felt he deserved a break for the way he protected the president against investigators.
Romney was the sole Republican senator to vote for Trump’s impeachment, and has emerged as one of the few nationally-prominent Republicans willing to not only disagree with the president, but criticize him. In June, Romney made clear his support for racial justice protesters and the need to address their concerns, not just forcefully repress them, earning him further ire from the president. Romney has also been vocal in his criticisms of Trump’s handling of COVID-19, warning repeatedly that it is too early for declarations of success—as Trump has regularly done since the pandemic hit American shores and steadily spread.