Mitt Romney was the only Republican senator to vote against one of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees on Tuesday. And he did so in part to defend former President Barack Obama.
Romney cast the lone GOP “no” vote against Michael Truncale, who was confirmed 49-46 on Tuesday morning to the Eastern District of Texas. Truncale called Obama an “un-American imposter” in June 2011, and explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was “merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama.” He also said he believed Obama was born in Hawaii and did not subscribe to “birtherism,” a racist theory that the president was not an American citizen.
But all that wasn’t a good enough explanation for Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.
“He made particularly disparaging comments about President Obama. And as the Republican nominee for president, I just couldn’t subscribe to that in a federal judge,” Romney said in a brief interview. “This was not a matter of qualifications or politics. This was something specifically to that issue as a former nominee of our party.”
Romney’s vote was just his latest break with the president on everything from his national emergency declaration to his plans to nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve. Though he backs Trump more often than not, he’s one of the Republicans most inclined to break with the president.