The John F. Kennedy Award will be given to the only Republican senator who supported the conviction during Donald Trump’s first impeachment
Republican Senator Mitt Romney was named Friday the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Courage Award for going against his own party by becoming the only Republican to vote to convict former President Donald Trump during the Senate’s first impeachment trial.
The Courage Award was established by President John F. Kennedy’s family to honor public figures who risk their careers making unpopular decisions for the common good and is named after the book Profiles in Courage, written by Kennedy in 1957, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
“Senator Romney’s commitment to our Constitution makes him a worthy successor to the senators who inspired my father to write Profiles in Courage,” Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the 35th president of the United States, who heads the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said in a statement. “He reminded us that democracy depends on the courage, conscience and character of our elected officials.”
Romney, 74, said his main inspiration is the memory of his late father, George Romney, an auto industrialist and governor of Michigan.
“When I think of courage, I think of my father,” said Romney, a Republican who represents Utah in the Senate and is also a former Massachusetts governor, “He did what he thought was right, regardless of the consequences. I seek to emulate his example, though I fail from time to time. We must subordinate our political destinies to the ideals of liberty, equal opportunity, and truth, especially when they are under attack, both here and abroad.”
Trump’s first trial, held in 2020, was based on a phone conversation between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Romney became the first senator in U.S. history to vote to condemn a president who belonged to his own party. The senator was heavily criticized and even threatened by Trump supporters, but he did not back down, the Kennedy Foundation said.
When Trump and many Republicans questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, Romney defended the validity of the results and opposed attempts to overturn them.
After Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Romney urged Republican senators to stand up for the truth about the election. In Trump’s second impeachment trial, Romney was one of seven Republican senators who voted to charge the former president with sedition.
Kennedy’s book tells the story of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking a principled stand in defense of unpopular decisions. The award was established by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in 1989.
At a virtual ceremony to be held in May, Romney will be presented with a prize, a silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope.
Past recipients include Presidents Barack Obama, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee. Winners are chosen by a 15-member bipartisan panel of national leaders.