Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is the only Senate Republican who was not invited to be a part of President Donald Trump’s bipartisan group of lawmakers focusing on re-opening the U.S. economy.
Romney was also the sole Republican who voted to convict Trump during the impeachment trial earlier this year, over Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating his opponent in the 2020 election. All other Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit Trump, and most defended Trump’s behavior.
The White House asked both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to serve in the group on Wednesday, the same day he announced that he had gathered a group of business leaders to serve on his “Opening Our Country Council.”
The congressional task force is one of several groups the Trump administration created as part of its effort to revitalize the economy, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues relatively unabated.
Besides Romney’s 52 Republican colleagues in the Senate, it includes 32 members of the House — 22 Republicans and 10 Democrats — as well as 12 Democrats from the Senate, all of whom also voted to impeach Trump.
Two Republican senators who faced scrutiny for selling off millions of dollars in stocks after being briefed about the coronavirus in January are also part of the group.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who reportedly sold up to $3.1 million in stock, vowed to sell off all of her individual stocks after the reports caused a backlash.
After publicly assuring Americans that the government was equipped to handle the spread of the coronavirus, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million worth of holdings in February.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the White House’s coronavirus response, had a call with the participating members of Congress on Thursday, Politico reported.
Romney was criticized by many Republicans for voting to impeach Trump, a move seen as traitorous to the Republican party as a whole.
Before casting his impeachment vote, Romney said on the Senate floor that Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
“What he did was … a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values,” he said.
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