On January 1, 2019, the Washington Post published a lengthy editorial essay written by Republican Utah United State Senator Mitt Romney.
Romney was the Republican party’s 2012 nominee for President who lost to President Barack Obama.
Following is the editorial essay with the link at the end followed by reactions and commentary:
“The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.
It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.
It is not that all of the president’s policies have been misguided. He was right to align U.S. corporate taxes with those of global competitors, to strip out excessive regulations, to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, to reform criminal justice and to appoint conservative judges. These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years. But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency.
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.
The world is also watching. America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more esteemed. Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.
This comes at a very unfortunate time. Several allies in Europe are experiencing political upheaval. Several former Soviet satellite states are rethinking their commitment to democracy. Some Asian nations, such as the Philippines, lean increasingly toward China, which advances to rival our economy and our military. The alternative to U.S. world leadership offered by China and Russia is autocratic, corrupt and brutal.
The world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace.
To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home. That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us. It includes political parties promoting policies that strengthen us rather than promote tribalism by exploiting fear and resentment. Our leaders must defend our vital institutions despite their inevitable failings: a free press, the rule of law, strong churches, and responsible corporations and unions.
We must repair our fiscal foundation, setting a course to a balanced budget. We must attract the best talent to America’s service and the best innovators to America’s economy.
America is strongest when our arms are linked with other nations. We want a unified and strong Europe, not a disintegrating union. We want stable relationships with the nations of Asia that strengthen our mutual security and prosperity.
I look forward to working on these priorities with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other senators.
Furthermore, I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.
I remain optimistic about our future. In an innovation age, Americans excel. More importantly, noble instincts live in the hearts of Americans. The people of this great land will eschew the politics of anger and fear if they are summoned to the responsibility by leaders in homes, in churches, in schools, in businesses, in government — who raise our sights and respect the dignity of every child of God — the ideal that is the essence of America.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP RESPONDS
On January 2, 2019, within hours after Romney’s attack on him for his lack of character and leadership, Trump dismissed the criticism in a characteristic tweet by saying:
“Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”
Trump’s “Flake” remark was a reference to former Republican United States Senator Jeff Flake who had become a critic of Trump.
Trump’s claim he “won big” claim is laughable and a lie seeing as he lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 4 million votes.
Trump actually secured a smaller percentage of the national vote in the 2016 election than Romney did in the 2012 election against Barack Obama.
NOTHING LIKE FAMILY NOT BACKING YOU UP
Ronna McDaniel is Mitt Romney’s niece and she is also chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
McDaniel unloaded on her uncle’s editorial essay as “disappointing and unproductive” in a tweet of her own by saying:
“POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Mitt Romney’s Washington Post essay was extremely mild compared to what he said about Trump two years ago during the Republican Presidential primary.
During the 2016 Presidential election, after Trump became the decisive Republican primary leader taking seven states in Super Tuesday, Romney in a speech called Trump a “con man” and “a fake” and had this to say about Trump:
“If we Republicans chose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished. … Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. … We will only really know if he is the real deal and not a phony if he releases his tax returns and his interview with the New York Times.”
In the speech two years ago, Romney took issue with Trump’s “personal qualities,” including “the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny and the absurd third-grade antics.”
Romney included references to a number of Trump’s headline-making incidents including comments he made about members of the media.
Romney brought up Trump’s vulgar remarks about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, saying Trump “attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle.”
Romney’s written essay is so watered down so as to be ineffective to the point that Trump and Romney’s own niece were able to dismiss it with two simple, short tweets.
Romney has vacillated in his support of Trump as was made clear when he wanted to be appointed Secretary of State by Trump and met with him over dinner.
“I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault [of Trump’s] … But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
But Romney’s essay now as a United States Senator shows he intends to stand up against Trump during his Senate tenure.
Not at all surprising is that Trump supporters and the Republican party quickly dismissed Romney’s Washington Post essay as a prelude to Romney running for President again and challenge Trump in the 2020 primaries.
Romney has already said he will not be running for President again.
What the essay letter should be taken as is a signal that United States Senator Mitt Romney will not hesitate to do what he feels is right and in the best interests of our country and vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial upon impeachment by the House.
A simple majority in the United States Representatives is all that is required to pass Articles of Impeachment charging Trump with “treason, high crimes and misdemeanors”.
After the midterms, the Democrats have a comfortable majority in the United States House, with a total of 435 house members consisting of 235 Democrats, 199 Republicans and 1 vacancy on a race yet to be called.
A two thirds vote in the United States Senate is required to convict and remove a president after a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Currently there are 100 Senators consisting of 53 Republican Senators, 45 Democratic Senator’s and 2 Independents and 67 Senators must vote to convict to remove.
With 45 US Senate Democrats, 21 Republican Senators will need to vote to convict Trump, which is why so many political pundits say it is unlikely Trump will ever be removed unless the Mueller Russian Investigation clearly shows criminal activity and acts of treason by Trump and his family.
It will be interesting to see how many Republican United Senators will actually put country before party and do the right thing and convict to remove Trump.
The one thing President Trump and Ronna McDaniel will not be able to dismiss with simple tweets is when United State Senator Mitt Romney votes to convict and find Trump guilty of articles of impeachment and remove him from office.