Romney votes against Trump judicial nominee citing comments 'disparaging of President Obama'

Mitt Romney talks to supporters in June 2018 in Orem, Utah.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah broke with President Donald Trump as the lone GOP senator on Tuesday to vote against Michael Truncale to be a district court judge in Texas, citing Truncale's comments "disparaging of President Obama" in 2011 in explaining his vote.

The move was a notable sign of respect for Romney's former opponent in the hard-fought 2012 presidential race.

"He said some things disparaging of President (Barack) Obama and having been the Republican nominee in 2012, I couldn't sign onto that for a district judge," Romney told CNN when asked why he voted against Truncale, who was successfully confirmed in a 49-46 vote despite the senator's opposition.

Romney has been a frequent critic of Trump, although he has also supported him in a number of policy areas.

Truncale has come under scrutiny for having described Obama as an "un-American imposter" in remarks in 2011.

When California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought up the remarks in a series of questions to Truncale and pressed him to explain the comment, he wrote in a written response that "it is possible" that "I was merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama."

Truncale also wrote that "as a judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer comments on any political matters."

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights also cited the 2011 comments in a letter to senators asking them to oppose the nomination.

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