Romney backs Trump in shutdown showdown, questions Pelosi

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, center, R-Utah, speaks with reporters after visiting with local officials to discuss how the four-week partial government shutdown is impacting an area with several major federal employers, including the Internal Revenue Service, Jan., 18, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Friday he supports President Donald Trump’s push for a border wall that has led to a government shutdown and questioned why Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t agree to “another few miles” of barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Romney also said he plans to keep working with other senators to find interim solutions, such as legislation that would make sure essential government employees still working get paid now.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee and new Utah senator acknowledged that it “takes two to tango” but backed Trump’s position and chided Pelosi for hers. That’s noteworthy from Romney, who despite being a Republican like Trump, has frequently criticized the president.

“You (Pelosi) and your fellow Democrats have voted for over 600 miles of border fence in the past, why won’t you vote for another few miles now?” said Romney, speaking in Ogden after visiting with county commissioners about the shutdown’s impact on the community. “I don’t understand their position, I really don’t.”

He implored the two sides to “make a deal” and end the suffering of federal workers who aren’t getting paid, suggesting Pelosi should offer a certain amount of money for the border wall and make a proposal to the president about border security. He said Trump is willing to allow participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to stay in the country.

“On policy, it strikes me like there’s not a big gap but the politics have drawn people into different corners,” Romney said.

Romney said the country deserves border security, which includes more barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border. He said there is “humanitarian pain” being suffered by people entering the country illegally and being stopped at the border.

The backing for Trump in the shutdown duel illustrates Romney’s stated goal of calling the president out when he disagrees while supporting him when he feels he’s staking out the right position.

His most recent critique of the Trump came two days before he took office in an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he said Trump’s conduct in his first two years in office had “not risen to the mantle of the office.”

Romney said he backs an idea by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin that would ensure essential government workers who are still working, but without pay, get paid. He said the goal is to get legislation before the president.

“It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me that we ask people to work, we insist that they work, we tell them that if they don’t work they may lose their pension and may lose they their job, so they show up, but we aren’t paying them,” Romney said. “Somehow that just doesn’t seem right.”

Romney met Friday with Weber County Commissioners about the impact on the city of Ogden, home to about 5,000 federal employers who work for the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Forest Service.

About 3,750 workers IRS workers in Ogden were on furlough, though about 1,000 were called back this week to prepare for tax-filing season.

After meeting with Romney, Weber County Commissioner James H. Harvey called it a “desperate time” for federal workers and their families.

“We want those messages heard so that there will be some action,” Harvey said.

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Just Guessin January 18, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    He said that Today, but what will he say tomorrow.
    Wait till chuck and nancy give him a nudge and he will flip.
    Not sure but I think I could make him out on the buss that got a know fly order from the PREZ
    Bet’s anyone on the flip?

  • Not_So_Much January 18, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Guess we all know which way the wind is blowing after 3 weeks.

  • Red2Blue310 January 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    SYA Romney is what he is.

  • dhamilton2002 January 18, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Not a big surprise that Romney tows the party line. He is just as spineless as Mike Lee

  • utahdiablo January 18, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    The Wall will be built…if you love the Caravan Invaders so much, go take care of them in Honduras….they’re not coming in

  • mshaw January 19, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Oh mittens!!!

    I voted for you but had no choice I would have rather chosen any other candidate helI would have picked someone from hilldale utah that never had been in politics! You sir are a true carpet bagger!! If I would bet that you will try a run in 2020 for the white house and say trump is a phoney. But know you will never get another vote from me!! I would like to hear the back door deal you cut with Orrin hatch to get the seat you never deserved. You are a bad choice for utah!!!

  • JOSH DALTON January 19, 2019 at 8:00 am

    So our Utah Rep backs that idiot!? I guess Romney is on board for now until he wants to take his family to one of our State Parks and he or a family member has to use the facilities. Oh wait, or Utah residents are taking time out of their lives to clean up our parks. Without pay! So that people can still enjoy or parks. Not to mention some of our Utah Reps are giving up paychecks to invest in the up keep of the #1 source of income for Utah….our state parks. Well, “you people” voted for him. GO FALCONS!

  • Kilroywashere January 19, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Rule of law, support the wall. No brainer. Republicans are standing united while Dems are going on vacation in Puerto Rico. Not willing to negotiate – total hypocrites as well based on stance on border security proir to 2016 . Let it ride, and Senator Romney is on the right side of history. 2-5 billion on wall infrastructure is a drop in the bucket and worth every penny. But for dems, illegal immigrants and non US citizens come first. American citizens are 2nd in line. The radical left Dems want a socialist state. Maybe Congresswonen Cortez should visit Venezuela. Or at least she can watch the nderground YouTube videos regarding the current state of affairs.

    • mesaman January 19, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      Glad you said what had to be said. It’s about something much more important than what Romney is saying.

  • Redbud January 19, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    What if instead of a wall, we just build a massive alligator-infested swamp that runs the length of the border? Trump will have a big red button on his desk, and when he pushes it, the swamp quickly drains and then fills back up again. How’s that for a compromise? Pelosi and Schumer could then claim that Trump failed and never got his wall, and Trump could drain the swamp at the touch of a button. It’s a win-win.

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