U.S. Senator Mitt Romney to Receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

March 26, 2021
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U.S. Senator Mitt Romney to Receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

BOSTON – The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced today that U.S Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his historic vote to convict President Donald J. Trump in 2020 in the Presidential Impeachment Trial. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the award as part of a virtual ceremony in May 2021.

“Senator Romney ‘s commitment to our Constitution makes him a worthy successor to the senators who inspired my father to write Profiles in Courage. He reminds us that our Democracy depends on the courage, conscience and character of our elected officials,” said Kennedy, honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

“Senator Romney proves that politics can still be a noble profession, that country comes before party. He stands out as a profile in courage that my generation can look to and learn from,” said Schlossberg, a member of the Profile in Courage Award Committee.

“When I think of courage, I think of my Dad,” said Romney. “He did what was right regardless of consequence. I aspire to his example, though I have failed from time to time. We must subordinate our political fortunes to the causes of freedom, equal opportunity and truth, particularly as they are under assault here and abroad.”

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. In February 2020, after weighing evidence that then-President Donald Trump withheld Congressionally authorized military aid for political gain, Romney voted to convict Trump for abuse of power. As the first Senator to have ever voted to convict a President of his own party, Romney’s courageous stand was historic. He characterized his trial vote 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. Following the 2020 Presidential election, when many leaders sought to reverse the results of the 2020 Presidential election by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the vote, Romney defended the integrity of the results and opposed efforts to overturn the decision of the Electoral College. On January 6, after an attempted insurrection by supporters of outgoing President Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Romney spoke out again, calling on his fellow Republican Senators to tell the truth about Trump’s loss. When this deadly attack resulted in an historic second impeachment trial of the former president, Romney joined six Republican Senators in voting to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service, and to celebrate his May 29th birthday. The award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions.

The Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope. The lantern was designed by Edwin Schlossberg and crafted by Tiffany & Co. Previous recipients include former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords; former U.S. Senator John McCain; Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee; U.S. Representative John Lewis; and former California State Senator and U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

The recipients of this prestigious award for political courage are selected by a distinguished bipartisan committee of national, political, and community leaders. Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University, former dean, Harvard Law School and chairs the 15-member committee. Committee members are Stacey Abrams, Former Georgia House Democratic Leader; David Axelrod, Political Strategist and founder of the Institute of Politics at The University of Chicago; Joaquin Castro, U.S. Congressman, (D-TX 20th District); Carlos Curbelo, Former U.S. Congressman (R-FL 26th District); Christopher Dodd, former Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, former U.S. Senator (D-CT); Adam Frankel, senior advisor to Emerson Collective and Fenway Strategies, former speechwriter to President Barack Obama; Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Marne Levine, Vice President of Global Partnerships and Business Development at Facebook; Claire McCaskill, former U.S. Senator (D-MO), NBC Political Analyst; William H. McRaven, Admiral, USN (retired); Beth Myers, Principal, Buckminster Strategies; Ronald L. Sargent, Chairman, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Jack Schlossberg, Grandson of President Kennedy.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization founded in 1984 to provide financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.