An opinion piece in appreciation of Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. May, 2012 (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Last month, on the 5th of February , the United States Senate voted on two articles of impeachment against president Trump: Abuse of Power; and Obstruction of Justice.

The third president in the history of U.S. to be impeached.

After months of impeachment inquiries, hearings, testimonies from witnesses and many subpoenas issued by House Intelligence committee, the final day had arrived and it was time for the 100 senators to vote on whether the president committed a crime when he asked Ukrainian President, Zelensky, to investigate Hunter Biden, son of his rival, Joe Biden, and withheld military aid already appropriated by the congress, in order to pressure the Ukrainians to follow his orders.

Senators, not surprisingly, voted along party lines. All Democrats voted to convict the president and Republicans voted to acquit him.

Since two-thirds of the senators were needed for conviction, president Trump was acquitted of all charges.

One Republican senator though, made history when he decided to vote to convict the president on one of the two articles of impeachment: Article I, abuse of power.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, and former Republican nominee in 2012 presidential election against Barak Obama, become the first Senator in history to vote to convict a President of his own party in a Senate impeachment trial.

In a speech delivered on the Senate floor, he made these remarks about his vote:

“This verdict is ours to render. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfilled our duty. 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 ‘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.

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.”

In his remarks , Romney acknowledged the consequences of his vote and breaking with his party :

“I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision , and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

And he was right. He sure did receive great amount of hate and abuse after putting his country over his party. President Trump tweeted about him and mocked his failed bid for presidency in 2012. Then, at the National Prayer Breakfast, a normally apolitical event, Trump said “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong”.

His son, Donald Trump Jr, even went further and said that Mitt Romney should be “expelled” from the GOP. Leaders of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) formally disinvited Romney from attending the event; and he was attacked by president’s sycophants at Fox News for days.

On the other hand, adulation and praise was poured in from some independents and ‘Never Trump’ Republications. Bill Kristol, a conservative and co-founder of the ‘Republicans For the Rule of Law’ initiative, tweeted : “Proud to be an Old Republican: Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Dole, George W. Bush, McCain, Romney.”

Evan McMullin, former CIA officer who ran as an independent during the 2016 presidential election, praised Romney and tweeted : “ Thank you, Senator Romney, for your courage and patriotism! Thank you for upholding your oath and defending the Constitution. A grateful majority is with you as will be the judgment of time.”

Democrats also showed to have a newfound love and admiration for the Senator, and for those of us who vividly remember how horribly and unfairly they treated him during 2012 election, this sudden shift is quite difficult to grasp.

He was target of numerous character assassinations and baseless accusations by the Democratic Party’s apparatus and Obama’s campaign.

They tried in every turn, to destroy his reputation and label him as a bigot, without providing any proof. He was even attacked for his wealth(!).

During a debate between him and then-president Obama in 2012, when Mitt Romney was asked about hiring women and pay equity, he asserted his commitment in employing women when he was the Governor of Massachusetts : “I had the chance to pull together a cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men. I said ‘Gosh, can we find some women who are also qualified?’ So we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ And they brought us whole binders full of women.”

He immediately came under fire for using the innocent phrase “binders full of women”. An orchestrated outrage ensued by the left and the media fixated on it for quite some time. “Blinders full of women”, which simply meant binders full of resumes of women, was treated by the dishonest opponents as an indication of his misogyny and sexism; when in fact the whole quote shows his great record of recruiting qualified women to work in prominent roles in his administration.

In 2012, Mitt Romney was mocked by president Obama and the liberal media for saying Russia is our biggest geo-political threat. Obama famously joked : “ The 1980 s is calling and asking for their foreign policy back. Because the cold war has been over for 20 years.”

Flash forward to 2016, when all the United States Intelligence agencies confirmed that Russia interfered with the presidential election. Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded that Russian interference was “sweeping and systematic” and “violated U.S. criminal law”, and he indicted 26 Russian citizens and 3 Russian organizations.

As Steve Kornacki, NBC’s National Political Correspondent once noted: “When Democrats were ridiculing Romney in ’12, Putin had already sent tanks into Georgia, been implicated in murders of dissidents and journalists, was still seen as Russia’s most powerful figure & was about to retake the presidency. Lots happened after, but a lot was already on the record.”

At a House intelligence committee hearing in 2019, Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, formally apologized to Mitt Romney for making fun of him in 2012 when he said Russia was our biggest geopolitical foe. And she confessed that Utah senator (Romney) was prescient.

Seems like we can now say 2016 called 2012, and it gave Obama’s stupid joke back.

In one instance, in August of 2012, then-VP Joe Biden attended a rally and told a racially mixed audience, which included African-Americans, that the Republicans and Mitt Romney will “put you all back in chains”. A clear dog whistle; in an attempt to imply the supposed (unsubstantiated) racism of Mitt Romney by referencing chains and implicitly signaling slavery.

Romney’s spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Biden’s comments “are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election. President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.”

Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said the campaign has “no problem” with Biden’s comment and she smilingly continued “I think he probably agrees with Joe Biden’s sentiments,” Cutter said on behalf of President Obama.

This prompted Mitt Romney to tell President Barack Obama to take his campaign of “division and anger and hate back to Chicago.” Romney added, “This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. President Obama knows better, promised better, and America deserves better.”

So then, the left started a fake outrage for these remarks and called Romney and his fan base racists, for using the words “anger” and “Chicago” in a sentence.

To recap, in a series of events that can only be defined as totally hypocritical, Joe Biden made a racially charged comment, which even some on the left called “divisive”; Mitt Romney came out and condemned Biden’s comments, but because he used the word “angry”, his comment was perceived as racist by the liberal media. A cycle of re-enforcing dishonest faux outrage, mob mentality, and complete hypocrisy was on display.

No one denies the existence of racism. There is misogyny and bigotry in the world. But,  playing identity politics and labeling everyone on the right as a racist or a sexist, without any merit and in bad faith, would diminish the magnitude of these words. When the left abuses the word “racism”, it loses its charge.

Many conservatives believe that the allegations of racism has lost all meaning. And they make a good point. By the time Donald Trump became the nominee for the Republican party, he was accused by at least 17 woman of sexual misconduct, and he refused to decline the support of white-supremacist group KKK and its leader David Duke. But this time, people were so turned off and numb to the words “sexist” and “racist” that they voted for Trump anyway.

Only if the democrats had resisted the temptation of accusing all Republican running against them as bigots, then we would have been living in a different world now, where the real racists are distinguishable.

One would assume the democrats would think twice before doing the same thing over and over again, but there is no sign of them learning their lesson.

As we saw in Democratic primaries and debates for 2020 presidency, each campaign tried to paint the rivals as “not woke enough”, the biggest hit was received by Joe Biden himself. Once the darling of the left, during 2019, he was the old guy with “racial blind spots” which is a code for racist, but with a milder tone.

They could not accuse him of being a racist or harboring racist thoughts, since he was worshiped by the left for 8 years as the Vice President, and doing so would be a self-inflicted wound. So, his fellow Democrats such as Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker and their supporters just stuck with the phrases like Biden “has racial blind spots” and says things with “racial undertones”.

His history of voting for segregation was brought up frequently by democrats, and he got too much heat after recalling his working relationship in the 1970s with segregationist senators as “civil”. Cory Booker even went as far as saying Biden has to apologize for his remarks.

Joe Biden then shot back at Booker and said “Cory should apologize. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in Civil Rights my whole career. Period.”

The whole tone of the Democratic primary was as if we are in a parallel universe where the 8 years of Obama administration never happened and Joe never got vetted before being chosen by the Obamas.

But then, after Bernie Sanders won multiple delegates, the Democrats noticed that if he becomes the nominee, they would definitely lose the election since the Americans will not vote for a self-declared socialist.

So now, Joe Biden is not a closeted racist anymore and he’s back to being just goofy Uncle Joe! We are gaslighted into believing everything is fine and the whole 2019 and early 2020 (before Bernie’s surge), never happened. Now Kamala Harris and Cory Booker did a 180 degree turn and they both recently endorsed Biden for president.

Noah Rothman, associate editor for Commentary magazine, once wrote an article titled “The monster Comes for its Creators”, in what seems to be a reference to the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, criticized Democrats’ habit of labeling Republicans, and noted how they fell into their own traps and got consumed by the “monster” themselves created.

We will see if the liberals still adore Joe Biden as much as they did right after his Vice-Presidential debate against Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. Where Joe kept interrupting Paul Ryan laughingly and using Irish slangs such as “Malarkey” and “Bunch of Stuff”, which confused the moderator, Martha Raddatz, and Paul Ryan, an Irish himself, had to clarify them for her.

Joe’s performance in that debate was praised by the democrats and he was pretty much adored for it. Let’s see if that charm is still there.

It seems, America had a chance to have a decent, thoughtful, and conscientious man like Mitt as the president, and they blew it. I’m not sure how long it takes for another Romney-type politician to come into existence, but I hope the next one would be treated better.

One thing is for sure though; the Democrats’ groundless accusations and smear campaigns against Mitt Romney, is the reason we have Donald Trump.

Even after all the mistreatments, Romney still defends the media and criticized politicians, including Trump who attack journalists and call the press, the enemy of the people.

He once said ‘a free press, even if biased … is critical to the preservation of the Republic’:

“We can and should call for accuracy and responsibility in reporting from every member of the press. But a free press, even if biased, was guaranteed in our Constitution because it is critical to the preservation of the Republic. I sometimes become irritated by stories I know are wrong, especially when they are about me. But I cannot conceive of thinking or saying that the media or any responsible news organization is an enemy. The media is essential to our Republic, to our freedom, to the cause of freedom abroad, and to our national security. It is very much our friend.”

I also need to point out the hostility of some Republicans toward Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP primaries, before he secured the nomination. Some evangelists accused him of not being Christian enough, some even went so far as to say he’s not really a Christian, due to fact that he’s a Mormon and some call Mormonism a cult; even though Mormons do in fact consider themselves to be Christians.

Romney and his family belong to the “Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ” church; a religious movement which was established in 19th century in upstate New York.

However, when Romney eventually became the Republican nominee, they all rallied behind him and stopped playing the “Mormon” card.

Ironically, during the impeachment trial, the only Republican who seemed to remember his oath before God, to exercise “impartial Justice”, was Mitt Romney.

In an interview with Fox News, Romney told  anchor Chris Wallace about his decision to convict the President in impeachment trial: “The personal consequences, the political consequences that fall on me as a result of that decision, are going to be extraordinary. But I swore an oath before God, and I’m a religious person, that I would apply impartial justice.”

I was reminded of this quote by Sir Thomas More (or as he is known in Catholic Church, Saint Thomas More), in one of his letters to Desiderius Erasmus:

‘I do not care very much what men say of me, provided that God approves of me.’

— A Letter to Erasmus, 1532

As I’m publishing this piece on Senator Romney’s 73rd birthday, I hope he has a great time with his family; his wife, 5 sons and (many MANY) grandkids (he says he knows all of them!) I want to colloquially call 12th of March, the ‘Mitt Romney appreciation day’!

Maryam Rahmani

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