Profiles in Courage: Mitt Romney


Impeachment rally.

Impeachment rally. Photo by Phil Roeder, published under Creative Commons License.

Adam Schiff, in closing speech to Senate: “Every single vote, even a single vote, by a single member, can change the course of history. is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say, ‘Enough’?”

Senator Mitt Romney was the only one: the lone, courageous Republican vote to convict the president. Since his vote, Romney has endured the vehement denunciation that he knew would follow his vote of conscience. He has been denounced by people in his own party and by the President of the United States. His principled stand gets praise mainly from people whose politics remain far different from his own—people like Stephen Colbert. In his monologue, Colbert referred to his own faith, and then went on:

“Hearing Mitt Romney take his oath to God seriously was like finding water in the desert. Because we know Republicans are lying when they say that Trump didn’t do anything wrong or maybe he did but shouldn’t be removed….

“Now, oaths may not mean a lot to some people. But here’s what it’s about: When you take an oath, you can’t think one thing and say another. You are asking God to witness, on the pain of your immortal soul, that what you whisper in your heart is what comes out of your mouth—though most of these guys are talking out of their ass….

“[In Man for All Seasons], Thomas More is the lone person opposing Henry VIII, a bloated, golden child who none dared gainsay, who destroyed anyone who did not follow him blindly and who went ahead and destroyed a lot of people who followed him blindly anyway. And in the play, More says this to his daughter Meg. He says, ‘When a man takes an oath, he is holding his own self in his own hands, like water. And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.’

“With the lone exception of Mitt Romney, I think the Republicans have opened their fingers. They will be missed.”

In his speech to the Senate, Senator Mitt Romney explained his vote as an act of conscience and an act of loyalty to Constitution and country:

I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the President, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong….

“This verdict is ours to render. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfilled our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’

“Yes, he did.

“The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

“The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

“The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

“The President’s purpose was personal and political.

“Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

“What he did was not ‘perfect’— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”

Unlike the president, Mitt Romney takes his oath of office seriously.

 “My promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.”

I will never agree with Senator Mitt Romney’s political views on most issues, but I honor him for having the courage to stand by his convictions and his conscience.

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