Watch the Virtual Award Ceremony
In a virtual ceremony on May 26, 2021, the JFK Library Foundation gave the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to U.S. Senator Mitt Romney for his vote to convict President Donald J. Trump in 2020 in the Presidential Impeachment trial. The Foundation also honored seven frontline workers for showing courage in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background for the Award
The 2021 Profile in Courage Award goes to Senator Mitt Romney for his vote to convict President Donald J. Trump in 2020, and his consistent and courageous defense of democracy. As the first Senator to have ever voted to convict a President of his own party, Senator Romney’s courageous stand was historic.
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 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. 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.