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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, cast the lone Republican vote to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. (Associated Press) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, cast the lone Republican vote to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. (Associated Press)

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, cast the lone Republican vote to convict President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. (Associated Press)

Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman February 7, 2020

Headline falsely claims Mitt Romney could be removed from office over impeachment vote

If Your Time is short

  • There’s nothing about Romney’s impeachment vote that would make him subject to removal from office. 

  • A proposed bill in Utah would allow voters to remove their U.S. senators from office if enough people signed a petition.

  • If the bill did pass, it would likely be challenged. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t provide for the recall of federally elected officials.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney cast the only Republican vote to convict president Donald Trump in the impeachment trial – marking the first time in U.S. history a senator voted to convict a president of the same party.

Trump was acquitted on both charges, but that didn’t stop Romney’s vote from making him a top target of misinformation online. 

One viral blog post circulating on Facebook claims that Romney could be removed from office over his vote. Its headline reads: 

"#RecallMitt Movement: With His ‘Guilty’ Vote, Mitt Romney Could Be Removed From Office."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The headline makes it appear as if his vote alone could have him removed. That’s not true.

The body of the post goes into specifics about a state measure introduced in Utah that would allow voters to recall their senators. It’s a proposal and not official law. 

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"As Mitt Romney grandstands in the U.S Senate’s doomed Trump impeachment trial in an effort to demonstrate his own moral superiority, the Utah legislature is mulling a measure that would allow the state’s citizens to recall their senators. The measure could hypothetically be used to recall Romney from office."

The bill, HB217 was introduced on Jan. 29 by Rep. Tim Quinn and would create a system where Utah voters could set up a "recall election to remove senators." 

Quinn maintains that the bill’s timing is coincidence and has nothing to do with Romney. He told Utah public radio station KPCW that the bill stems from constituents’ concerns with the 17th amendment, which established the six-year term for U.S. senators.

The measure says 25% of "active voters" (Utahns who voted in the last two elections) would have to sign a petition requesting a recall vote. Senators could not be recalled within the first year of their term or within a year of the end of their term.

But, if passed, the bill would likely face a constitutional challenge. Some states have recall provisions for state offices such as governor, attorney general or state representatives, but the U.S. Constitution doesn’t provide for the recall of federally elected officials.

A similar legal precedent may be a 1995 Supreme Court ruling that struck down an Arkansas challenge to set term limits on its representatives. The court ruled that states did not have the right to impose requirements for individuals to qualify for federal office.

The blog post’s headline falsely states that Romney could be removed from office over his impeachment vote. It oversimplifies a state bill that contains several requirements, hasn’t passed and may not be constitutional if it does. 

We rate this False.

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Headline falsely claims Mitt Romney could be removed from office over impeachment vote

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