SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney broke ranks with Senate Republicans on Tuesday to vote against a Trump administration judicial nominee who disparaged President Barack Obama eight years ago.
Romney, R-Utah, cast the lone GOP "no" vote against Michael Truncale, who the Senate confirmed 49-46 as a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas.
In a June 2011 speech before the Golden Triangle Republican Women, Truncale called Obama an “un-American imposter.” He later told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was at the time “merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama."
Romney, who lost to Obama in the 2012 presidential race, later explained his vote against Truncale to reporters.48 comments on this story
"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 told Politico. "This was not a matter of qualifications or politics. This was something specifically to that issue as a former nominee of our party."
Democrats and civil rights groups opposed Truncale, a staunch conservative and one-time GOP congressional candidate, because of his views on abortion, immigration and voting rights.
Though Romney backs President Donald Trump most of the time, he is among Republicans who have shown a willingness to buck the president. He voted against Trump's national emergency declaration to fund a border wall and announced he would not vote for Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board.