Mar 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Romney granted John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for vote to convict Trump

Mitt Romney

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), whose political career began with a bitter 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts against incumbent Ted Kennedy, was granted the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Friday for voting to convict President Trump in his first impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Romney became the first senator to vote to remove a president of his own party after Trump was impeached — and ultimately acquitted — for abuse of power stemming from his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

  • Romney went on to vote convict Trump a second time, after he was impeached in January for inciting the Capitol insurrection. This time, he was joined by six other Republican senators.
  • Romney, who is also the former governor of Massachusetts and the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, became known as one of the few Republicans willing to frequently criticize Trump during his presidency.

What they're saying: "During a time of grave threat to U.S. democratic institutions, Mitt Romney has been a consistent but often solitary Republican voice in defense of democracy and the rule of law," the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum said in a statement.

  • "He characterized his vote to convict as “the most difficult decision I have ever faced,” and acknowledged that he would suffer significant political consequences. Nevertheless, Romney said he could not 'disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end.'"
  • "Despite facing unrelenting criticism and public antagonism following this vote, along with threats to his physical safety and demands that he be censured or expelled from the Republican party, Romney has continued to courageously defend the fundamental principles of democratic governance."

The other side: "I’m humbled by the Kennedy family’s recognition today. But I see courage every week from my colleagues in the Senate, many of whom make tough decisions to do what they believe is right even though it may be politically unpopular," Romney tweeted.

Go deeper