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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 LeeOn management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process Rubio asks MLB commissioner if he'll give up Augusta golf club membership Why some Republicans think vaccine passports will backfire on Democrats MORE (R-Utah) came to fellow Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS On management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE’s (R) defense as the latter catches flak over his vote this month to convict former President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks 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 CheneyTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Budowsky: Great for Dems: Trump dominates GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate MORE (R-Wyo.), and senators who voted to convict, including Sens. Bill CassidyBill CassidyCalls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general MORE (R-La.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina mayor Rett Newton launches Senate bid Democratic hopeful Jeff Jackson raises .3M for North Carolina Senate bid Rick Scott 'very optimistic' Grassley will run for another term 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.