By seeking facts, Romney accused of trying to 'appease the left'

For having the audacity to want to hear from key witnesses in the impeachment trial, Mitt Romney is facing "appeasement" accusations from his own allies.
John Kasich
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)Matt Rourke / AP
By Steve Benen

Former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton is not just another witness in Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal. Bolton, a prominent far-right voice for decades, has worked in multiple Republican administrations, and has first-hand information about the president's actions and motivations.

Common sense suggests all senators who are eager to learn the truth about what transpired in this controversy should want to hear from Bolton -- who has volunteered to testify to the Senate as part of the ongoing impeachment proceedings. It's a point one GOP senator, in particular, seemed eager to emphasize yesterday. The Wall Street Journal reported:

At a closed-door GOP lunch before Monday's trial session began, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah spoke forcefully about the need to have former national security adviser John Bolton testify before the Senate, according to people familiar with the matter. [...]

Following the lunch, new Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) took the unusual move of attacking her colleague Mr. Romney by name on Twitter, saying, in part: "Sadly, my colleague [Romney] wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander [Trump] during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It's time to move on!"

If Loeffler's name is unfamiliar, it's probably because she's Congress' newest member. The Georgia Republican was very recently appointed to her Senate seat, and her career on Capitol Hill has now spanned three weeks.

As of yesterday, Loeffler's most notable contribution during her brief tenure was going after one of her own party's colleagues for having the audacity to seek relevant facts as part of a presidential impeachment trial.

It was her use of the word "appease" that was of particular interest. Loeffler had other options, and she could have argued that Bolton is an unreliable witness with suspect motivations. But instead the appointed senator suggested that Republicans should stop seeking the truth because such pursuits might benefit "the left."

The irony, of course, is that if anyone is engaging in "appeasement" in this unfortunate drama, it's Georgia's junior senator.

This is, after all, a dynamic in which Loeffler, fearing a high-profile Republican primary challenger, thought it best to go after one of her longtime friends, in public, for reasons that are tough to defend.

It's certainly possible that she sincerely believes that those seeking the truth from other Republicans are guilty of some kind of "appeasement," but it's hard to dismiss the possibility that it's Loeffler who's trying to appease the GOP base ahead of a tough red-state primary.

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