Wicker was the only Republican present for Romney’s anti-Trump speech. What was that all about?


Wikimedia CommonsSen. Mitt Romney, shown here in a 2012 file photo, voted to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power.
Sen. Mitt Romney walked to the well of the U.S. Senate chamber on Wednesday to explain why he would become the only Republican to vote to convict President Donald Trump of the abuse of power charge filed by House Democrats.
As the former Republican Party presidential nominee launched into what some consider the most stunning rebuke of Trump’s presidency, just one of his Republican colleagues sat inside the chamber: Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
During Romney’s 10-minute speech, however, Wicker stood from his desk and walked out of the chamber mid-speech.
“What he (Trump) did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values,” Romney said right around the time Wicker left the chamber. “Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”
Stopped by a Politico reporter a few minutes later, Wicker said simply of Romney: “This is his hour.”
Wicker was not in the chamber during Romney’s speech to be swayed. He’d made his mind up before the Senate trial began, as did Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi’s junior senator. In the hyper-partisan moment in history, neither of Mississippi’s senators strayed from the loyalty they and a majority of their constituents have to the president.
The Senate voted Wednesday to acquit Trump of  both impeachment articles, abuse of office and obstruction of Congress — both votes along party lines with the exception of Romney, who voted with Democrats 48-52 to convict Trump on the abuse of office charge.
While both Wicker and Hyde-Smith stretched to appear neutral in public statements and in initial interviews with reporters, neither senator