Letter to the Editor: Romney a profile in courage

Vice President Mike Pence’s Wall Street Journal (1/17/2020) op-ed snagged my attention. Citing JFK’s 1956 “Profiles In Courage,” Pence claimed to be seeking a person of courage tangled up in the Senate trial of President Trump. Imagine. Seeking a person who would put principles and integrity above personal and political party loyalties to “do impartial justice,” the sworn oath of all 100 senators.

I had hoped that Pence was actually seeking senators of courage and integrity to self-identify as unable to fulfill their oaths to “do impartial justice” after having declared their intentions before the trial even started.

As a poignant example, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a pre-trial declaration, said he would “work closely with the White House.” He failed the test of integrity and courage — miserably. And how many more were like Lindsay Graham violating their oaths with pre-trial declarations of Trump’s innocence/guilt? In my ethical universe, people of courage and integrity are bound to take solemn oaths seriously.

However, no senators recused/excused themselves as unable to fulfill their oaths due to conflicts of interest and/or pre-determined positions on the outcome of the trial.

A half dozen or so senators took a significant half a step by acknowledging that the House had enough proof that Trump tried a shakedown of Ukraine to enhance his chance(s) of reelection but maintained that this did not meet the level of misdeed required for conviction.

This half-dozen votes would not have altered Trump’s eventual acquittal. However, these senators should have met their obligation to “do impartial justice” with a vote to convict based on their recognition of facts.

Vice President Pence was probably not looking for Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama to be his profile in courage. Up for re-election in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, Democrat Jones cast two votes to convict Trump using the evidence, courage and integrity.

And Vice President Pence certainly was not looking for Sen. Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee, to be the only person from either political party to break ranks and vote what his conscience and oath required of him: to convict Trump of abuse of power. Sen. Romney showed the kind of courage that Pence claimed he was seeking.

In his closing Pence asked, “Who…will stand up to the passions of their party? Who will stand up against ‘legislative mob rule’ and for the rule of law? Who will be the 2020 Profile in Courage?”

The answers as to who did and who did not should seem patently obvious to any objective observer.

Dan Cannon