Salt Lake City, UT – In an interview that aired Sunday night, Senator Mitt Romney blamed Democrats for the record-breaking federal government shutdown. When asked if he could support reopening the government before solving the border wall question, Romney responded:
I think our Democrat friends have painted themselves into a corner. They have voted for border walls in the past. The president is willing to work with them as long as they recognize, hey, we need border security. I think that’s something that most Americans agree to.
This comes shortly after Romney wrote a widely-circulated and much-discussed op-ed in the Washington Post. In it, Romney promised the nation that he “will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not.”
“Senator Romney should start practicing what he preached,” said Chase Thomas, Better Utah’s executive director. “Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Utahns oppose using taxpayer money to fund Trump’s wall. By continuing to support the president with empty rhetoric, instead of reopening the government as is Congress’ responsibility, Romney is telling his constituents that funding a wall they do not want is more important than allowing thousands of Utahns to feed their families and pay their bills.”
The shutdown is now in its fourth week, claiming the record for the longest shutdown in the nation’s history. Furloughed Utah workers are relying on food banks to feed their families and many are having to choose which bills to pay. There have been reports that local businesses that serve federal workers, such as those near the IRS center in Ogden, are suffering from the reduced patronage, which could also have negative impacts on local government budgets. While affected federal agencies are attempting to stretch out available funds for some widely-used programs, Utahns will see more negative effects as the shutdown continues on unaddressed.
“Romney said he had hoped Trump would ‘rise to the occasion’ once he won election,” continued Thomas. “Now that Romney has won election, he must rise to the occasion of his office. As a Senator, Romney represents the interests of the State of Utah and its residents, not the interests of the Republican party or the whims of the president. We strongly urge Romney to use his outsized influence in the Senate and national discourse to fight for his constituents.”