NEW YORK, New York - President John F. Kennedy's only grandson has called on Republican Senators to hear from witnesses and review the evidence, before making judgement in the forthcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.
Jack Schlossberg, the son of Caroline Kennedy, made the appeal in a series of tweets on Saturday, responding to an op-ed penned by Vice President Mike Pence and published in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. In his article Pence urged Senate Democrats to break ranks and oppose the articles of impeachment.
To make a point of comparison, Pence referred to JFK's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles in Courage," which dedicates a chapter to Republican Senator Edmund Ross of Kansas. Pence points out Ross broke with his party to cast what was believed to have been the deciding vote to acquit President Andrew Johnson in his 1868 impeachment trial, the first such trial for any U.S. president.
"The question naturally arises: Who, among the Senate Democrats, will stand up to the passions of their party this time? Who will stand up against 'legislative mob rule' and for the rule of law? Who will be the 2020 Profile in Courage?" asked Pence.
Schlossberg however took issue with the piece, saying the vice president's article was a total perversion of his grandfather's legacy and the meaning of courage.
"Vice President Pence draws upon JFK's book Profiles in Courage and the example of Edmund G. Ross, a Republican Senator who broke with his party to oppose the impeachment of President Johnson in 1865," he said.
"Vice President Pence was right to celebrate Ross, a public servant who, foreseeing his own defeated, nonetheless summoned the courage to vote his conscience, and put the national interest above his own. But let's not be confused."
"Donald Trump was impeached because he did the exact opposite - he put his own interests ahead of our country's national security and, in the process, broke federal law," wrote Schlossberg.
"Vice President Pence and Congressional Republicans have also failed the test of courage. Rather than risk their career or endure personal reprisal, they excuse the President's and others' admitted wrongdoing and disgraceful behavior."
"I would argue instead that today, as in 1865, political courage might require a Republican Senator to risk his or her own political future by breaking lockstep from the President and agree to hear from witnesses, review the evidence, and put the national interest above their own," said JFK's only grandson.
Schlossberg is on the record of praising a former Republican vice president, who also became president, when George H.W. Bush was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2014 for what was deemed 'a courage to risk his political future for the greater good.'
"In office he was confronted with two realities: deadlock with a Democratic Congress and a budget deficit spiraling out of control, both threatening the economy."
After lengthy negotiations, Bush and congressional Democrats reached a budget deal that rattled the political base of both parties. It set limits on discretionary spending, implemented "pay as you go" rules for entitlement programs and raised taxes.
The ramifications were profound: the 1990 budget agreement was a first step in the economic surge occurring during the Bill Clinton Presidency. "Without President Bush' s decision to support some tax increases along with spending cuts in the 1990 legislation, the economic boom of the 1990s would have been significantly diminished," says Mark Zandi chief economist of Moody's Analytics. And it enraged some of Bush's fellow Republicans, contributed to a sharp decline in his approval ratings and may well have cost him reelection in 1992. "He put the public good ahead of his own political calculation," said Schlossberg.