Johnson confronts Romney after vote on witnesses

Two Republican senators — Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE of Wisconsin and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE of Utah — got into a confrontation on the Senate floor Saturday after Romney voted with Democrats to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial of former President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE.

Reporters sitting in the Senate gallery said they saw a “visibly upset” Johnson turn to Romney and point at him after the vote.

The two men then got into a back-and-forth, with Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (R-Alaska) trying to play referee. 


Voices were raised, and at one point Johnson was overheard saying he blamed Romney.  

Johnson is a staunch Trump ally who argued the defense “eviscerated” the Democratic prosecutors and “blew their case out of the water.” Romney, a frequent Trump critic, voted to convict Trump on one count during last year’s impeachment trial. In the second trial, Romney voted both that the impeachment trial over whether Trump incited an insurrection on Jan. 6 was constitutional and for witnesses to be called.

Johnson on Saturday flashed his anger at reporters who later asked him about his exchange with Romney.  

"Those are private. Those are private conversations," Johnson said.

"Reporters heard it," a reporter replied just off the Senate chamber. "I just want to make sure we’re getting it right."

"That’s grotesque you guys are recording us," the senator retorted.

"They were allowed to witness your proceedings" on the Senate floor, the reporter said.

Television cameras controlled by the Senate apparently did not capture the exchange.