MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Wednesday gushed over Sen. Mitt Romney's (R., Utah) floor speech about voting to remove President Donald Trump from office.
"I want to say something about [Romney] when I get back in a minute," Matthews said on Hardball. "I was romantic about politics for a couple minutes again today like I used to be. Romance in politics means believing in guts."
Romney slammed Trump's conduct toward Ukraine that launched impeachment proceedings against him, calling him "guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust." The only Senate Republican to do so, he announced he would vote to convict Trump on abuse of power. He voted "not guilty" on the count of obstructing Congress.
Matthews, a frequent Trump critic, concluded one of his segments by asking Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus whether she believed Romney's speech was great.
"Romney was awesome. I loved the strength of his language," Marcus said.
Matthews also tweeted, "It takes no courage to hide in a pack, to speak in unison with those around you. What takes bravery, what merits regard, is the voice that speaks out and tells the brave truth through the sad chorus of silence and submission."
It takes no courage to hide in a pack, to speak in unison with those around you. What takes bravery, what merits regard, is the voice that speaks out and tells the brave truth through the sad chorus of silence and submission. https://t.co/hRJ0nCtjGI
— Chris Matthews (@HardballChris) February 6, 2020
While Matthews lavished praise on Romney's speech, he repeatedly criticized him throughout his 2012 presidential campaign.
Matthews often accused Romney of playing the race card against then-President Barack Obama and compared him to a failed organ transplant. He was also critical of Romney's appearance, and he memorably erupted on the air after Obama's first 2012 debate performance, shouting he shouldn't have "let Romney get away with the crap he threw at him tonight about Social Security."
Romney's vote surprised some observers, but Trump's acquittal was never in doubt, as two-thirds of the Senate was required to convict him and remove him from office. He was the third president to be impeached and then acquitted in U.S. history.