Open letter to Senator Romney

See Disclaimer. This letter was e-mailed to Senator Romney’s Office on September 8, 2020.

Dear Senator Romney:

At an earlier dark time in our history, senior Republicans stepped up to convince a dishonest president to resign. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Mr. Nixon was given no alternative to resignation, except for facing a (bipartisan enough for conviction) impeachment process. He chose wisely, for his benefit and, most importantly, the country’s.

I ask you, from a grandfather to another, to repeat History—but with a heightened sense of urgency and national emergency, ahead of a major election.

As an informed citizen and an independent voter, I certainly find Mr. Trump unfit to be US President. Policy differences are secondary. What I find unacceptable is his lack of moral compass, his unethical behavior and corrupting influence, and his willingness to compromise the national interest and security.

But elections are how we normally address both policy differences and incompetence, or malice, in governance. This November, we should hand a landslide victory to Joe Biden, because Mr. Trump has tragically failed us on COVID-19, racial justice, climate change and so many other key issues. Because he has divided us and fueled hatred and intolerance throughout our communities. Because he has attacked the free press, and he has disregarded truth, facts and science. Because he was impeached for undue, self-serving, influence on a foreign government.

Why not simply waiting for the election, then? Because what we have been witnessing recently goes far beyond ‘normal.’ Mr. Trump now poses a clear and present danger for our democracy and country. He crossed the line when he became intent on compromising the integrity of our electoral system, and countering any outcome that does not favor him in November.  

Mr. Trump is openly and misleadingly sowing mistrust on the system, is discrediting voting by mail, and is crippling the US Postal Service for electoral advantage. He is fueling conspiracy theories, and aligning himself with foreign powers and domestic extremists to do so.  He is ignoring intelligence information on past and present Russian interference. He has encouraged Americans to break the law, by attempting to vote twice.

Even worst, he is hinting that—should he lose—he would refuse to concede or even leave office, launching the country into a constitutional crisis and risking—if not promoting—chaos and violence on the streets. These actions are typical of  authoritarian leaders. If successful, they would end America as we know it, and extinguish the democracy and freedom that the Founding Fathers—and so many others since—envisioned and fought for.

It is time for Mr. Trump to resign. He will not do so willingly, or for the good of the country. But, just like Mr. Nixon, he might resign in his self-interest, if left with no attractive alternatives. You, Senator, hold the key.

You alone, among Republican Senators, voted to convict Mr. Trump in his impeachment trial. You stood on firm moral ground. The grandfather in you knew that it was imperative to put country above party, and serve justice—for our sake and that of future generations.

By contrast, your Republican colleagues scurried for justifications to absolve a guilty president. They now have on their consciences about 190,000—and counting—COVID-19 deaths in the US. And they are inherently complicit in this president’s unprecedented attack on the essence of our democracy. Many of your colleagues are better than that. They might reflect on the courage of the Lincoln Project, and of the many Republicans who are endorsing Joe Biden. A re-do might offer them redemption.

What the country needs from you now is that you use your moral authority and political skill and influence, to build a robust coalition of fellow Republican Senators willing to offer Mr. Trump a bipartisan-backed choice: Resign, or face a new impeachment trial with enough Republican votes to enable conviction.

It won’t be easy, or politically safe. But, should you lead and succeed in this, a grateful nation will be spared a looming disaster. In fact, we will be given a much needed opportunity to heal, and re-enter the path towards the ‘better Union’ that we were founded to be. And grandkids across America will benefit from—and will ultimately honor—your courage and patriotism.


— Antonio Baptista

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