Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Tuesday joined Democrats in opposing the nomination of Michael Truncale, President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Romney was the lone Republican senator who bucked his party in voting against Truncale, who was ultimately confirmed by a vote of 49-46.
Democrats and civil rights groups view Truncale as an extreme ideologue who wants to limit reproductive, immigrant and voting rights. They urged the Senate to reject his nomination, citing his calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood.
But Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, said he had another reason he saw Truncale as unqualified to serve in a lifetime position as a federal judge.
“He had said some things disparaging of President Obama and having been a Republican nominee in 2012 I couldn’t sign on to that for a district judge,” the Utah senator told reporters on Tuesday.
In a June 2011 speech before the Golden Triangle Republican Women, Truncale called the former president an “un-American imposter.”
He later explained to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee that at the time he was “merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama.”
Romney, who was elected to the Senate last year, has shown a willingness to cross Trump. In April he said he was “sickened” by some of the findings in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia ― going further than other Republicans in criticizing Trump over the report.
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