Michelle Obama and Sen. Mitt Romney praise Simone Biles after she pulled out of Olympics event: ‘We are rooting for you’

simone biles
Simone Biles of Team United States blows a kiss whilst watching the Men’s All-Around Final on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

  • Several politicians praised Simone Biles after she pulled out of an Olympics event.
  • “I love and admire Simone Biles and our Olympians,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah tweeted.
  • Biles withdrew from the team competition, citing mental health concerns.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Several public figures and politicians threw their support behind US gymnastics champion Simone Biles after she decided to pull out from a team Olympics event on Tuesday.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama tagged Biles in a tweet on Tuesday evening and wrote: “Am I good enough? Yes, I am. The mantra I practice daily.”

“We are proud of you and we are rooting for you,” she added.

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah similarly commended the superstar gymnast, writing in a tweet: “I love and admire Simone Biles and our Olympians.”

“Beyond their determination and sacrifice, they evidence the greatness of the human spirit, in victory and in defeat,” he continued. “I take pride in them, not so much for the medals they win as for the grace, humanity & character of their hearts.”

Biles sent shockwaves through the Olympic Games on Tuesday when she unexpectedly withdrew from Team USA’s group competition in Tokyo, Japan, after she scored low marks on her opening vault routine. USA went on to earn silver in the women’s gymnastics team final.

The 24-year-old athlete later revealed that she dropped out due to mental health concerns.

“I have to put my pride aside. I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being,” she told reporters. “That’s why I decided to take a step back.”

Biles also cited the stress of the global sporting competition and the pressure to perform well for others as reasons for her exit. She announced on Wednesday that she will also not participate in the individual all-around final at the Olympics, set to take place Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the move in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“God bless our athletes. We admire them for their skill, and their discipline, and their focus, and their talent,” the top Democrat said. “And we admire them as athletes, but we admire them as people for having the strength to walk away from all that.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Biles’ withdrawal “courageous” and congratulated the rest of the women’s gymnastics team on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

Other members of Congress also tipped their hat to Biles for pulling out of the competition.

Rep. Lori Trahan of Massachusetts described her as an “American icon” and “inspiration to young women across the world.”

“She’s also human, and her decision to put her mental health first is once again setting an incredible example for all of us,” Trahan added. “We’ve got your back, Simone.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York tweeted that Biles’ “decision to put her mental health first is a testament to her character, bravery & will help #EndTheStigma” around mental health.

“We stand with her & congratulate the USA gymnastics team on bringing home the silver,” he said.

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Senate GOP votes against their $1 trillion infrastructure deal with Biden – but say they’ll back it in just 4 more days

Mitt Romney Rob Portman
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) ride an elevator as they leave a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure on Capitol Hill.

  • Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to oppose an infrastructure deal they struck with Biden.
  • They said they wouldn’t vote for an unfinished bill – but they’ll be prepared to do that on Monday.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t thrown his backing behind the measure yet.

Senate Republicans voted against advancing the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal on Wednesday in an early vote. But a key faction called for more time and said they can support the same agreement in four days.

Republicans lined up to oppose the blueprint in a 49-51 vote on Wednesday afternoon. The measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he went from a “yes” to a “no” only so he could bring up the measure again for another vote under Senate rules.

Still, Republican negotiators including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah expressed confidence about supporting their plan on Monday once details on how to pay for it were ironed out.

The agreement contains $579 billion in fresh spending beyond what Congress has already approved focused on roads, bridges, and upgrading broadband connections. All five Republican negotiators voted against kicking off debate on the agreement they had struck with President Joe Biden last month.

It comes days after the bipartisan group jettisoned $40 billion in extra IRS funding in the bipartisan deal, as it had triggered a backlash among conservatives alarmed about the possibility of overreach by the agency.

The GOP maneuver represents a stark contrast with their Obamacare repeal efforts in 2017. At the time, most Senate Republicans voted to advance an incomplete “skinny repeal” blueprint of the Affordable Care Act, a major Republican priority. But the late Sen. John McCain ultimately cast the pivotal vote that torpedoed that effort, with an infamous thumbs-down vote.

Romney told reporters before the vote that it’ll be some time before a full infrastructure bill is drafted. “We won’t have a complete text, that’s going to take quite a while,” he said. “We’ll have elements that are written but many that are not.”

He said the bipartisan group is aiming to be fully agreed upon “the major issues” by Monday. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a Democrat in the talks, told reporters the group would continue fleshing out the deal by phone on Wednesday evening.

The bipartisan group put out a statement shortly after the Wednesday afternoon vote. “We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement,” the senators said, adding they want to broker a deal “in the coming days.”

Progressives are losing patience with the slow pace of bipartisan talks. Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have argued for several weeks that the GOP has been given plenty of time to come onboard and warn that Republicans are attempting to only delay Democratic efforts.

“Democrats have kept the door open to Republicans for months now on infrastructure,” Warren told Insider on Tuesday. “Republicans cannot be allowed to delay progress any longer. I hope Republicans will be part of this, they’ve been given every accommodation, but it’s time to move.”

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Romney ‘felt a pit in his stomach’ at ‘surprisingly good’ early Trump election night numbers, book says

mitt romney
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, leaves the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in Russell Building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney predicted a Trump election win early on election night, per a new book.
  • Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, took note of Biden’s less robust performance in Florida.
  • Romney did not cast a ballot for Trump in either of the Republican’s presidential campaigns.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

On election night last November, Sen. Mitt Romney watched the early returns and developed “a pit in his stomach” at then-President Donald Trump’s strong performance in early states, an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker said.

The Utah Republican, who was the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and has had a turbulent relationship with Trump over the years, was watching the returns with his wife, Ann, and other family members and saw that the early numbers were positive for the president.

In fact, the numbers were “surprisingly good” for Trump, with now-President Joe Biden underperforming in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, where Democratic presidential nominees need to perform strongly in order to capture the populous swing state.

That night, Romney told his family that Trump would be victorious in the presidential election, the excerpt from “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” said.

“I think he’s going to win,” Romney said in the book. “Those polls were way off. I think he’s going to pull it out.”

At the White House, the mood was jovial early in the night, with Trump supporters thrilled with the initial results.

Trump data cruncher Matt Oczkowski saw positive signs in the president’s overperformance among minority groups in Florida, along with his success with turning out rural White voters in North Carolina, according to the excerpt.

However, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien tried to keep the president’s expectations in check, telling him to “stay calm” as states continued to report their results, according to the excerpt.

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 327 top staffers to show where they all landed

Romney, who was less shocked at Trump’s 2016 victory than many others, had seen the GOP become more beholden to far-right figures over the years, but still sought to deny the president a second term in office.

As the night went on and states were called for Biden, along with the reality that several key states had many more ballots to count, the expectations of a Trump win became increasingly tempered.

Trump, who was anxious to declare victory on election night, instead gave an early morning speech where he challenged the validity of the remaining ballots and sought to involve the Supreme Court in the race.

Romney expressed that was “heartsick” after watching the president’s nationally-televised speech, according to the excerpt.

“We’re in a global battle for the survival of liberal democracy in the face of autocracy and autocratic regimes attempting to dominate the world,” he said. “So saying something and doing things that would suggest that in the free nation of the United States of America and the model of democracy for the world, that we can’t have a free and fair election would have a destructive effect on democracy around the world, not just to mention here.”

The senator voted to convict Trump of abuse of power in his first impeachment trial for this role in the Ukraine scandal, and would later go on to vote to convict the ex-president of incitement of insurrection in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in his second impeachment trial.

Trump was acquitted of the charges in both Senate trials, as the upper chamber failed to reach the two-thirds threshold needed to convict.

Romney said last year that he did not vote for Trump in either the 2016 or 2020 presidential elections.

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Infrastructure talks enter last-ditch stage as both Republicans and Democrats eye gas tax increase

Mitt Romney congress
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney told Insider a bipartisan group is weighing indexing the gas tax to inflation.
  • The gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993.
  • Other Democrats appeared noncommittal, reflecting the delicate state of the talks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republicans and Democrats are eyeing a potential increase to the gas tax as both parties entered a chaotic last-ditch effort to strike a bipartisan infrastructure deal after a month of failed discussions between President Joe Biden and Senate GOP

The bipartisan group is in the early stages of assembling a plan they hope will draw at least 60 votes in the evenly-divided Senate. The cohort is equally split between Republicans and Democrats.

It includes Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio, as well as Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; and Jon Tester of Montana. The group emerged after Biden pulled the plug on negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who had been Republicans’ chief negotiator since April.

Romney told Insider on Thursday that the new working group was weighing indexing the gas tax to inflation. The 18-cent levy hasn’t been raised since 1993. “It keeps it at the same value that it has today,” the Utah Republican said.

The White House has previously said bumping the gas tax was off limits given Biden’s pledge to not hike taxes for households earning under $400,000. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the idea gained some momentum among Democrats when Sen. Dick Durbin of Iowa, second-ranked in the chamber, said he believed it “ultimately has to happen.”

“I look at it as a user fee. We pay taxes on gasoline because we want to drive our cars on safe roads,” Durbin told reporters.

Still, other Democrats in the group like Tester appeared noncommittal. “It’s not one of my favorite things, but we’ll see what the entire deal looks like,” he said in an interview. “I gotta see it in the context of everything, see what stays in and drops out.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, another Democrat in the group, declined to answer whether he supported it, a sign of the delicate state of the negotiations. “I actually think it’s better … until the cake is fully baked, to keep the ingredients quiet,” he told Insider.

Seth Hanlon, a tax expert and senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, projected that indexing the gas tax to inflation would generate between $30 billion to $35 billion over a decade.

“It would be borne by consumers,” Hanlon told Insider. “We could get roughly the same revenue by rolling back the 2017 corporate tax cut by a fraction of a percentage point.”

He added that indexing the gas tax could have “modestly positive environmental effects,” though not if it’s only paired with spending focused on physical infrastructure and if it omits climate.

Biden’s two-part economic plans amount to $4 trillion in fresh spending on physical infrastructure like roads and bridges, as well as caregiving, cash payments, universal pre-K, community college, and a wide range of measures.

Both parties remain far apart on the scope of an infrastructure bill and how to pay for it. Other Republicans are increasingly signaling that climate provisions wouldn’t be included in their package.

Biden, along with congressional Democrats, are pushing clean energy tax incentives, a national system of electric vehicle charging stations, and federal funds to retrofit homes.

“If they’re looking for a line item that says ‘climate,’ they’re not going to see that,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said of Democrats.

A few Senate Democrats have stepped up their criticism of the bipartisan talks in recent days, warning that such talks risk omitting measures to combat climate change in an infrastructure deal. Another top Democrat threatened to withhold his vote if climate wasn’t sufficiently addressed.

“On a big infrastructure bill, to pass on climate altogether? No way!” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider. “Think I’m blunt enough? No way.”

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Top Republican accuses White House of moving goalposts on infrastructure –┬ábut she didn’t budge on either of Biden’s requests

Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

  • Biden ended infrastructure negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Tuesday.
  • Capito later said she was “disappointed” at how things ended and Biden kept “moving goalposts” on her.
  • But her GOP group barely budged on their offer and refused to raise taxes, which Biden proposed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After nearly six weeks of back and forth between President Joe Biden and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on infrastructure, Biden ended the negotiations on Tuesday after failing to come to an agreement.

Capito said in a Fox News interview on Wednesday that the White House “kept moving the goalposts” on the Republican group, and she was “frustrated” with how things turned out.

“I’m a bit disappointed and frustrated that the White House kept moving the ball on me and then finally just brought me negotiations that were untenable and then ended the negotiations altogether,” Capito said. It’s unclear exactly what Capito was referring to, but the public statements from both sides indicate the White House kept coming down on the cost of the package and the GOP was inflexible.

There seemed to be disappointment on both sides. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Tuesday that Biden was disappointed that “while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.”

Capito and the group of Republicans first brought Biden a $568 billion infrastructure offer, which was significantly smaller than the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan he proposed. He then offered the group $1.7 trillion, and even suggested going as low as $1 trillion, but the GOP only came back to him with a $928 billion offer, which included only $150 billion in new spending.

Since unveiling his plan, Biden has kept saying he’s committed to a bipartisan agreement, as seen with his willingness to come down on cost to get both sides of the aisle on board. For instance, after his talks with Capito collapsed, he reached out to some members of a new bipartisan group about another infrastructure proposal. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a member of that group, has already said that tax increases are out of the question.

Using corporate tax hikes to fund his plan is one of the things Biden has remained firm on, but the GOP group never budged on the possibility of doing so, calling it a “red line” and suggesting repurposing unused stimulus funds instead.

“The pay-fors that they brought to me the final time were many taxes,” Capito said. “We had told them before we could do this without raising taxes and we gave them great opportunity to look at our pay-fors and how we would pay for this. I think when they brought the tax hikes before me the last time when I was in the Oval Office I knew they weren’t really serious at that point.”

Given that tax hikes are a core component of Biden’s plan, the likelihood of reaching a bipartisan agreement is slim, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Democrats are preparing to use reconciliation, meaning passing a bill without any GOP votes.

“We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan way,” Schumer said. “So at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation.”

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Senate Democrats signal they’re ready to ditch GOP on infrastructure as White House turns to new bipartisan group

Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

  • Biden’s talks with Senate Republicans broke down on Tuesday after more than a month.
  • Schumer said Democrats are looking to pass infrastructure spending alone down the road.
  • The White House is turning to a new working group that is eyeing stimulus money to pay for infrastructure.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Democrats are starting to signal they are prepared to ditch Republicans on infrastructure, as the Biden administration’s talks with the GOP collapsed without a deal after more than a month.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats were preparing to use reconciliation, a tactic to approve certain bills with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate.

“We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan way,” he said at a weekly news conference. “So at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation.”

Several hours later, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the chief negotiator for Republicans, announced her talks with President Joe Biden broke down after they failed to resolve major differences.

“I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations,” Capito said in a statement, adding she was “disappointed” in the decision.

“Throughout our negotiations, we engaged respectfully, fully, and very candidly – delivering several serious counteroffers that each represented the largest infrastructure investment Republicans have put forth,” she said.

The West Virginia Republican met with Biden twice in the Oval Office since last month, and both sides were unable to strike an agreement after six weeks of back-and-forth discussions. They were never close to bridging differences on the size and scope of a plan, or on how to finance it.

Biden was seeking at least $1 trillion in new spending, a significant cut from the initial $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan he unveiled in August. Capito’s latest offer that the White House dismissed Friday included only $338 billion in fresh spending – a $700 billion gap.

Now, the Biden administration’s attention is likely to turn to another bipartisan working group that includes Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.

Biden also called Cassidy on Tuesday in a fresh sign of the White House’s new efforts to cobble together a new coalition to support an infrastructure plan.

Cassidy told Insider earlier on Tuesday that some of the group’s plan could be financed with money from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law.

“Dollars that have not been used that are still out there – and won’t be used for years – seem like a logical place to go,” he told Insider. The Louisiana Republican also ruled out there being any funding for caregiving in the proposal, saying that goes beyond the scope of infrastructure.

Romney also said the group was eyeing the use of emergency stimulus funds provided to states in their package. “We’ll allow them to use some of the money we’ve sent to them,” he told Insider.

The Biden administration rejected that measure during the negotiations with Capito. Other Democrats urged quick action after the crawling pace of negotiations with Republicans, arguing they barely budged.

“I think we have to move this up as quickly as we can,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters. “I have not seen any indication that Republicans are prepared to support the kind of serious legislation this country needs.”

Sanders said any reconciliation bill would include both of Biden’s infrastructure plans – the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan as well as the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. The first is devoted to upgrading roads and bridges, instituting elder care, and revitalize manufacturing among other measures.

The latter plan aims to set up universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, cash payments for families, and a national paid leave program.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, said Democrats will still need to pass a second bill through reconciliation, along party lines, even if Democrats can agree with Republicans on a smaller physical infrastructure bill focused on fixing roads, bridges and ports. If they can’t, he said, then Democrats will need to include all they can in a reconciliation package.

Casey is pushing for funding for the infrastructure plan to include Biden’s request for a $400 billion fund that would pay for older adults and people with disabilities to get care at home. He dismissed concerns about high spending.

“Those are big numbers but when you consider what corporations and extraordinarily rich people have taken out of the tax code over 40 years, it’s astronomical,” he said. “Even those numbers we are talking about now are dwarfed by the dollars taken out of the tax code because it was rigged.”

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The GOP prepares to come up $500 billion on infrastructure after Biden comes down by $600 billion

Roger Wicker Mississippi
Sen. Roger Wicker.

  • GOP Sen. Roger Wicker said Republicans will bring Biden a $1 trillion infrastructure counter-offer.
  • This follows the White House’s offer to cut its $2.25 trillion plan down to $1.7 trillion.
  • Some Republicans still think $1 trillion is too high, while the parties are far apart on funding new spending.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In his latest attempt to get Republicans on board with his infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden offered them a $1.7 trillion plan last week, down from his initial $2.25 trillion proposal. GOP lawmakers plan on countering that with a $1 trillion plan on Thursday.

A group of GOP senators, led by Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, met with Biden two weeks ago to discuss their initial $568 billion counter-proposal to Biden’s infrastructure plan. They missed last Tuesday’s deadline to bring the president a new offer, but Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told reporters on Tuesday that a new offer close to $1 trillion will be brought to the table on Thursday.

“We’re going to hit a figure very close to what the president said he would accept, and it will end up being the most substantial infrastructure bill ever enacted by the federal government,” Wicker told reporters.

Capito’s office said in a statement to Insider last week that Friday’s White House offer was “well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support” and that Republicans and the White House still differed on what’s considered infrastructure, how much should be spent on it, and where that money should come from.

While Biden has proposed funding the plan through corporate tax hikes, Republicans have strongly opposed doing so, instead suggesting “user-fees,” a set of charges levied on the users of a federal service or good, like raising the federal gas tax.

And last week, Insider reported that Capito floated the idea of taking unused federal unemployment money to fund infrastructure, which comes as 23 GOP-led states have so far announced they are ending unemployment benefits early following the weak April jobs report.

Wicker told reporters on Tuesday that repurposing stimulus funds, and not spending any new money, will be something the GOP will push for. Republicans are also pushing take Biden’s proposed tax hikes on the richest Americans and multinational firms off the table in any deal.

“I do think there’s a path forward here if the president is willing to take it,” Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, the fourth-ranking Senate Republican, told Insider. “As long as we’re not talking about tax hikes, I think that’s really important because Republicans are not going to support any tax hikes.”

Biden has proposed lifting the corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% level put in place in the 2017 Republican tax law. He’s also seeking to impose higher taxes on investors and raise the marginal income tax rate.

Not all Republicans support the $1 trillion figure, likely complicating a bipartisan plan. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters that it’s “unlikely” he’d support a number that high, which could pose another barrier to reaching a bipartisan agreement.

As these negotiations continue, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly urging Biden to forego these discussions and move ahead with passing the comprehensive package he proposed, with corporate tax hikes, to get urgent aid to Americans.

“We appreciate the White House’s interest in reaching across the aisle to seek Republican support for overwhelmingly popular infrastructure priorities …” House Democrats wrote in a letter. “While bipartisan support is welcome, the pursuit of Republican votes cannot come at the expense of limiting the scope of popular investments.”

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Mitt Romney rebuked some of his Republican Senate colleagues, calling January 6 Capitol riots an ‘insurrection against the Constitution’

Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney speaks during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on December 1, 2020.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney rebuked some of his Republican colleagues after a hearing about the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
  • Romney reiterated the riots at the Capitol amounted to “an insurrection against the Constitution.”
  • Several Republicans at a hearing on Wednesday downplayed the insurrection, which resulted in five deaths.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Mitt Romney called the Capitol attack “an insurrection against the Constitution” following remarks from fellow Republicans trying to downplay the events of January 6.

The Republican senator from Utah was responding to a question from HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic about a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday regarding police preparation during the attack.

Several Republicans spoke out during the hearing to downplay the riots with dismissive comments and baseless claims. GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde said accurately describing the insurrection as such constituted a “bold-faced lie” and compared the pro-Trump mob to tourists.

Hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol building while Congress was trying to certify the 2020 presidential election results forcing lawmakers, including Romney, to evacuate the building to safety. Footage shows Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman directed Romney away from the rioters during the insurrection.

Five people died in the insurrection and more than 470 people are facing related federal charges.

Bobic on Thursday asked Romney for his response to Republicans “trying to rewrite history” about the January 6 riot.

“Well, I was there,” Romney said. “And what happened was a violent effort to interfere with and prevent the constitutional order of installing a new president, and as such it was an insurrection against the Constitution, it resulted in severe property damage, severe injuries and death.”

The comment marks the latest instance where Romney openly rebuked Republican lawmakers in the aftermath of January 6. The Washington Post reported that Romney erupted at Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, telling the Missouri lawmaker during a fiery confrontation that he “caused” the riot.

Romney posted on Twitter in the hours after the insurrection to label it as such, in addition to squarely placing blame on then-President Donald Trump.

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Mitt Romney reportedly accosted Josh Hawley over the Capitol riot: ‘You have caused this!’

Hawley Romney
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) speaks as the Senate reconvenes after the Capitol was cleared of rioters on January 6, 2020, with GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, left, and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, right, looking on.

  • Sen. Romney reportedly exploded at Sen. Josh Hawley over the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
  • According to The Washington Post, Romney told Hawley: “You have caused this!”
  • Hawley has been resoundingly criticized for raising objections to Biden’s electoral votes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah exploded at Sen. Josh Hawley over the January 6 Capitol insurrection, The Washington Post reported. He’s said to have told Hawley, “You have caused this!”

The Post, citing sources familiar with the exchange, reported on the Romney-Hawley confrontation in a lengthy profile of the Missouri senator published on Monday.

The Post said that as senators were rushed out of the Capitol and into a secure location, “Hawley remained combative in pushing the very falsehoods that had helped stoke the violence,” prompting Romney’s rebuke.

The normally mild-mannered and affable Romney also shouted “this is what you’ve gotten!” at his Republican colleagues during the chaos of the siege on the Capitol, The New York Times reported.

Read more: FBI director Chris Wray barely survived the Trump era. Now he’s working with Biden’s attorney general taking on domestic terrorism and probing Trump allies.

Hawley generated significant controversy with his plan to sign onto an official objection to Congress counting Pennsylvania’s slate of 20 electoral college votes for President Joe Biden. He followed through with this move after the insurrection when senators were able to return to the Capitol after it had been secured by law enforcement.

Under the parameters of the Electoral Count Act of 1887, each chamber must split up to debate an Electoral College objection for a maximum of two hours. This meant that Congress debated the Pennsylvania objection late into the wee hours of January 7 after being able to return to the Capitol. Hawley specifically took issue with a law passed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature that allowed voters to vote by mail without an excuse.

The Missouri senator has condemned the riots at the Capitol and distanced himself from the insurrectionists’ actions on multiple occasions since. But critics say Hawley casting doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election elevated the false claims of voter fraud that led to the insurrection.

Hawley’s actions around the riots led to some of his most prominent mentors, including former Missouri Senator John Danforth, publicly disavowing him and stating that they regret their roles in his political rise. Another one of Hawley’s Republican colleagues, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said bringing the objections was “a really dumbass idea.”

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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Mitt Romney loudly booed and called a ‘traitor’ at Utah’s GOP conference over his opposition to Trump

Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney addresses the Utah Republican Party 2021 Organizing Convention Saturday, May 1, 2021, in West Valley City, Utah.

  • Utah GOP conference delegates booed Sen. Mitt Romney on Saturday.
  • Romney faced anger for his opposition to former President Donald Trump.
  • “You know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issues,” said Romney
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was loudly booed when he took to the stage at a state Republican Party conference Saturday, according to a video published by the Salt Lake Tribune.

In the footage, the delegates start to boo when Romney takes to the stage and the jeering grows louder as he tries to speak.

Romney is one of the most prominent critics of former President Donald Trump. He was the only Republican who voted to convict Trump in the former president’s first impeachment trial, and one of 9 Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial.

According to the Tribune, delegates shouted insults at Romney, accusing him of being a “traitor” and a “communist.”

“I’m a man who says what he means, and you know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issues,” said Romney, as delegates tried to shout him down.

“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Romney asked the crowd as the boos continued.

The crowd only quietened down when Utah GOP chair Derek Brown stepped onto the stage and asked delegates to “show respect” to Romney. The senator was then able to continue with his speech.

Watch the racous introduction Romney received from the floor of the Utah convention, here:

According to the Associated Press, Romney narrowly escaped official censure at the convention over his opposition to Trump in a 798 to 711 vote.

The incident highlights the rift that still exists between moderate conservatives who’ve spoken out against Trump over the Capitol riot and other outrages, and many grassroots Republicans who remain loyal to him.

Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, is one of the most prominent figures in the GOP. Yet his opposition to Trump has seen his popularity fall with Republicans, with an Ipsos/axios poll on January 14 finding that only 34% of Republicans approved of his political conduct.

In his remarks to delegates, Saturday Romney sought to remind them of his conservative credentials.

“You can boo all you like,” said Romney. “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.”

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