Romney defiant over jarring reception at Utah GOP convention: ‘Boo all you like, I’ve been a Republican all of my life’

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Sen. Mitt Romney faced a cacophony of angry boos when he took the stage Saturday at the Utah Republican Party’s 2021 Organizing Convention.

Hosted at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, the event featured speeches from all six congressional Republicans who represent Utah, but only one of them reportedly inspired the anger and rage faced by Romney.

As the notoriously anti-Trump senator took the stage Saturday, he was initially greeted by a mix of applause and boos. But the second he reached the podium, the boos erupted like a sonic boom and quickly overwhelmed any of the clapping.

At first the senator tried to ignore it.

“So what do you think of President Biden’s first 100 days?” he said in a failed attempt to begin his speech.

But the booing only further crescendoed, provoking him into replying, “Thank you, thank you.”

Note that he said this with a beaming smile.

Watch:

As the boos continued, he started looking around the auditorium and flashing a thumbs-up to the few people in the crowd who were clapping.

He eventually tried to take control again by highlighting his notorious dislike of former President Donald Trump.

“Now you know me as a person who says what he thinks, and I don’t hide the fact that I wasn’t a fan of our last president’s character issues. And I’m also no fan …,” he said before giving up again as the boos once again exploded in intensity.

One person in the audience could be heard shouting, “Show some respect!”

It’s not clear whether the person had been demanding that fellow audience members show respect to Romney, or demanding that Romney show respect to Trump.

Apparently fed-up with the interruptions, the senator eventually said — and he did so while still smiling — “Aren’t you embarrassed?”

This stunning question later drew backlash on social media:

Eventually, Utah Republican Party chair Derek Brown took the stage to try and calm the audience.

“My friends, this is the moment I was talking about. Please … show respect,” he said.

The trick worked and for once the applause began to out-weigh the boos, thus allowing Romney to begin his speech.

He started by acknowledging that he’s disliked but making the point that he’s just trying to keep it real.

“I understand that I have a few folks that don’t like me terribly much, and I’m sorry about that, but I express my mind as I believe is right, and I follow my conscience as I believe is right,” he said.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, he defiantly added that he’s been a Republican all his life.

“You can boo all you like. I’ve been a Republican all of my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan, and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012,” he reportedly said.

Despite the backlash he faced, the convention’s attendees wound up coming to his defense by voting down a censure motion against him 798-711, according to the Tribune.

The motion had been introduced by Davis County delegate Don Guymon in response to Romney voting to convict Trump in February.

“Mitt Romney’s votes to remove Trump from office in two illegitimate impeachment trials hurt the Constitution and hurt the party. This was a process driven by Democrats who hated Trump. Remember when [Nancy Pelosi] tore up his speech? Romney’s vote in the first impeachment emboldened Democrats who continued to harass Trump,” he reportedly argued during the convention.

However, several other delegates reportedly spoke out against the motion.

“If the point of all this is to let Mitt Romney know we’re displeased with him, trust me, he knows. Let’s not turn this into a Trump or no Trump thing. Are we a party of principle or a party of a person?” Salt Lake County delegate Emily de Azavedo Brown reportedly said.

“This proposal is not about whether Romney is a good Republican. This is about sending a message that this party cannot tolerate dissent. This is not the cancel culture party. This is the Republican Party,” Utah County delegate Steve Densley reportedly added in agreement.

After the boos died down, Romney continued his speech by aiming all of his own fury straight at current Democrat President Joe Biden.

“I’m not a fan of the current president’s policies. In his inauguration speech … he promised bipartisanship, and I guess by bipartisanship he means the Democratic Party on one side and the socialists on the other,” the senator said.

“And then this week he correctly said that China poses an existential threat to our democracy, and his answer to that is apparently two years of free pre-k and of course six trillion dollars in spending, a lot of which we would borrow from the Chinese.”

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Vivek Saxena

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