Lee after Romney's impeachment vote: There's enough room in GOP 'for both of us'

Lee after Romney's impeachment vote: There's enough room in GOP 'for both of us'
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Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (R-Utah) came to fellow Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Trump slams Romney, Senate GOP over infrastructure deal MORE’s (R) defense as the latter catches flak over his vote this month to convict former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE in his impeachment trial. 

In a statement released through his campaign, Lee suggested that intraparty disagreements overall make the GOP stronger, and that there is enough room for both supporters and opponents of Trump. 

“In any event, the fact that Senator Romney and I sometimes disagree (either with each other or with most Senate Republicans, or both) is not itself cause for alarm. To the contrary, it shows that neither one of us blindly defers to anyone,” he said. “He and I have adopted this approach not just because it works for us specifically (as two senators representing the same state), but also because it helps advance what unites us."

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“While Senator Romney and I sometimes reach different conclusions, there is enough room in the Republican tent for both of us—just as there is room enough for all Republicans in a general election, regardless of how they voted in the primary," he added.

After a story from the Salt Lake Tribune ran saying that Lee was defending Romney’s vote, Lee maintained he was not backing the decision to convict Trump.

Lee tweeted the story “is not only misleading, but affirmatively deceptive. The Salt Lake Tribune will stop at nothing to undermine and create divisions within the Republican Party.”

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Lee’s support for Romney comes after the Utah Republican Party defended both Utah senators despite their divergent votes. 

“Our senators have both been criticized for their vote,” the party said in a statement Monday. “The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought.’ There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.” 

The remarks from Lee and the Utah GOP mark a departure from the treatment other Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach and convict Trump are facing at home.

Censures from state parties are flying at House members who voted to impeach Trump, including Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyStefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism Kinzinger primary challenger picks up Cawthorn endorsement The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers give grueling, horrific accounts of Jan. 6 MORE (R-Wyo.), and senators who voted to convict, including Sens. Bill CassidyBill CassidyThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (R-La.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Senators say they have deal on 'major issues' in infrastructure talks MORE (R-N.C.).

The divisions are breaking open as Republicans look to retake the House and the Senate in the 2022 midterms, raising concerns within the party that its internal fights over Trump will impede its electoral chances.

“The Republican Party should work tirelessly to take back the House and Senate in 2022. Having different perspectives within our party leads to more robust debate, which in turn produces more thoughtful policy outcomes—all of which will be a benefit to Republicans in future elections,” wrote Lee.