Romney says oath 'sworn before God' as Senate juror led him to vote to convict Trump

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney7 things to know about the coronavirus stimulus package Scarborough rips Trump for mocking Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'Could have been a death sentence' Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' MORE (R-Utah) said in new recent interview that the oath he swore under the Constitution and “before God to apply impartial justice as a Senate juror” during President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE's impeachment trial led him to vote to convict the president on one article of impeachment.

"Well, I took my responsibility exactly as the Constitution defines it and as the oath I took requires it," Romney told local station KSL. "Which is that I was sworn before God to apply impartial justice as a Senate juror." 

"I agonized over the responsibility that ultimately would come my way," the Utah Republican said. "I hoped beyond hope that I would not have to find him guilty of what had been alleged."

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His comments come several days after the president appeared to take aim at Romney during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington for invoking his religion while explaining his decision to vote to convict Trump on the charge of abuse of power. 

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” the president said.

Romney, who is a Mormon, asked ahead of his vote last week: "Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?"

Romney was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump, who was acquitted of both articles of impeachment last week in the GOP-controlled Senate. The former Republican presidential nominee sparked widespread criticism from conservatives with his decision.  

During his interview on Sunday, Romney said that people “expect jurors who swear an oath to fulfill that oath regardless of the 'team' that might be on trial."

"I mean, you don't want juries to say, 'Gosh, this person that's a defendant there, he's a member of my religion so I'm going to vote with him no matter what, or he's a member of my race, or she's my gender.’”

He also invoked his father, former Michigan Gov. George W. Romney (R), as a source of motivation to behind his vote to convict Trump during the interview.

"My dad was a person who stood by his word and did exactly what he thought was right regardless of the consequence," Romney said. "And that is a family tradition which I hold dear."