KEY POINTS

  • Romney called a traitor for not objecting to Electoral College results
  • The Utah senator secured his seat in overwhelming fashion
  • He’s a long-time critic of President Trump

After being labeled a traitor for not objecting to the Electoral College results, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has won praise in the court of public opinion for his part in a tense discussion with a President Trump supporter that has gone viral.

The Republican senator won accolades on social media early Wednesday for keeping his cool during a confrontation with a defender of the outgoing president who questioned his loyalty to Trump at a Salt Lake City airport.

Stephanie Ruhle, a business correspondent for NBC News, said on Twitter that Romney, who has been a vocal critic of Trump since assuming office in January 2019, was showing "respect" and "restraint" while the Trump supporter was “harassing him.”

Another user on Twitter referenced Ernest Hemingway’s comments on grace under pressure, lauding Romney while suggesting the protestor was showcasing the "cowards in the Republican Party."

While unclear if his response related to the video, Garrett M. Graff, the director of the cybersecurity program at the non-partisan Aspen Institute, suggested Romney align with centrist Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-Va.

The criticism of the Utah senator from Trump supporters followed him through the airport terminal on Tuesday. A second video shows passengers on a flight from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C. calling the politician a "traitor," as noted by CBS News. 

While social media showed overwhelming support of Romney after the release of the first video, the ire against him comes as lawmakers prepared Wednesday to certify results from the Electoral College that showed former Vice President Joe Biden securing more than the 270 votes needed to take the presidency from Trump.

A handful of Republican House and Senate leaders vowed to defy the will of the voters and challenge the results on grounds the Nov. 3 election was fraudulent, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence.

“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic," Romney said in a statement on Sunday. "The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it."

Trump in November secured Utah’s six votes in the Electoral College when he beat Biden with 58% of the vote.

Romney defeated Democrat Jenny Wilson in the race for the Utah seat in 2018 by taking 62% of the vote.

mitt romney Senator Mitt Romney is pictured. Photo: GETTY IMAGES / ALEX WONG