Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Quote of the Day (Mitt Romney, on Trump’s ‘Extreme and Egregious’ Violation of His Oath of Office)

“The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’

“Yes, he did.

“The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

“The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

“The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

“The President’s purpose was personal and political.

“Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

“What he did was not ‘perfect’— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”—Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), “Romney Delivers Remarks on Impeachment Vote,” Feb. 5, 2019

Over the last several weeks, I have despaired over what I will call, after their most prominent House and Senate exemplars, the “(Will) Hurd-(Lisa) Murkowski Defens
e” of Donald Trump—that, yes, his conduct might be “inappropriate,” even “shameful and wrong,” but it did not warrant his removal from office. 

Springing from fear of either retaliation by this most vindictive of men or of being “primaried,” their objections to impeachment, when not legally irrelevant, were constitutionally inadequate and morally incoherent.

Few figures in positions of high authority exit public life completely uncompromised, and over the years I often disagreed with Romney’s vision of America’s future. 

Particularly in the last few weeks, I wondered what was taking him so long to speak out, as one Republican Senate colleague after another turned out to be as morally abject about the President's rank offenses as what Winston Churchill scathingly called "the Boneless Wonder" of Barnum and Bailey Circus. 

But his explanation today of his vote to impeach the President leaves him far more than one of the “footnotes at best in the annals of history” that he evoked in his closing lines. With admirable concision, he cut through the fog of cant, excuses, insults and lies spread by the President and his accomplices in his latest brazen assault on the Constitution and on the dignity of the office once occupied by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the Roosevelts.

The odds are long, given his age and the current parlous state of his own party, that Romney will ever achieve his dream of the Presidency. 

But today—when history was watching and weighing what was happening, and when the Constitution itself was riding on the results—he looked more Presidential than anyone now on the hustings. He proved that sometimes, a politician really can stand as tall as the occasion demands.

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