Sen. Mitt Romney, the only Republican to vote to convict former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2020, will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for being the first senator in U.S. history to vote to convict a president from his own party.
JFK's daughter, former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, told NBC's Peter Alexander in a "Today" interview that Romney was chosen because his actions were like those of the lawmakers spotlighted in her father's book, "Profiles in Courage."
"He was willing to risk his career and his popularity within his own party to do what's right for our country and to follow his conscience and Constitution and his impeachment votes," Kennedy said. "I think his courage is an example for all of us."
The award was created by the family of the late president to honor public figures who risk their careers for embracing unpopular positions for the public good, according to NBC News.
"I'm very appreciative of the honor, but also humbled by it," said Romney, who added that he does "sleep well because I know that I did what my conscience told me was the right thing to do."
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee has been slammed by Trump, his supporters, and others from his own party for voting to convict Trump on one count of abusing his office at his first impeachment trial. Romney voted not guilty on the other charge of obstruction of Congress.
Trump was acquitted of the charges, which stemmed from his telephone conversation in 2019 with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. In the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to examine Joe Biden’s role in the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, who had been investigating corruption charges against Burisma Holdings, a major energy company that had employed Biden's son, Hunter.
"Well, no question, there are a few people that are not happy with me," Romney told Alexander. "I understand that that's the nature of the job that I've got."
Romney said he ultimately decided to vote to convict Trump because of the oath he and his congressional colleagues swore at the start of the impeachment trial.
"We swore, under God, that we would apply impartial justice. I took that very, very seriously," Romney said. "I listened to the various testimonies that were provided ... and I felt that that was a severe enough violation of his oath of office to require a guilty verdict."
Kennedy, 63, also said that it is an act of bravery just for Romney to accept the award, because "not everybody has the courage" to claim the honor.
"We feel as a committee, we have to be courageous to call it like we see it," she said. "Certainly, Sen. Romney's example stood out."
Kennedy's son, Jack Schlossberg, added that Romney's action shows "courage and faith and integrity are not outdated and that politics can still be a noble profession."
"That's why we honor profiles in courage and celebrate them, because they inspire us all to be better," he said.
Romney said there is some "irony" in his getting the award, as he had run for office against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, JFK's younger brother.
"We became very good friends as time went on and actually collaborated together on a piece of legislation to provide health care to all the citizens of our state," Romney said, referring to healthcare legislation he enacted in 2006 as governor of Massachusetts.
Romney said he thinks the country still needs such bipartisanship.
"I'm afraid if the president of either party instead just follows the demands of the most aggressive wing in his party, you may have that wing satisfied, but the nation has become more divided," he said. "You've got to find common ground and work with people in both parties and get answers to issues that are bipartisan."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.