A viral Facebook post shared over 1,700 times claims Utah started the petition process to recall Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
While online petitions have called for Romney to resign or be censured, Check Your Fact didn’t find a recall petition with over 120,000 signatures. U.S. senators can be removed through impeachment or expulsion, not a recall.
The claim that Romney faces a recall petition in Utah started circulating widely after the senator voted on Feb. 13 to convict former President Donald Trump in the second impeachment trial. Trump was impeached and later acquitted on one count of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to The Washington Post.
“Utah OFFICIALLY starts RECALL for Mitt Romney,” reads the viral post. “124k signatures in 1 hour!!” (RELATED: Did Mitt Romney Endorse Joe Biden For President?)
While there are several online petitions calling for Romney to resign or be censured, Check Your Fact didn’t find a petition to recall the senator that had 124,000 signatures. There is currently no mechanism in Utah law or the U.S. Constitution that allows for the recall of a sitting U.S. senator.
Senators can be removed from office through impeachment or expulsion, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. The U.S. Constitution requires a “concurrence of two-thirds” of the Senate to expel a sitting U.S. senator. Since 1789, the Senate has only expelled 15 senators, 14 of which were expelled “during the Civil War for supporting the Confederacy,” according to the Senate website.
In January 2020, then-Utah state Rep. Tim Quinn introduced a bill that would create a mechanism for voters to recall a U.S. senator, according to Deseret News. However, Utah lawmakers decided not to consider the proposal, the Associated Press reported.
The Utah GOP has so far not censured Romney for his vote to convict Trump in the second impeachment trial. In a mid-February statement, the Utah GOP said “we look neither to the past, nor to be punitive.”