A few leadership reflections from the Trump impeachment process
Okay, I am very troubled by the way the impeachment process ended.
I can guess the two things you may be thinking:
1) Is Harry going to argue that the U.S. Senate should have voted to remove Trump from office? OR
2) Is Harry going to argue that the U.S. Senate made the right decision in not voting to remove Trump from office?
Here’s the possible surprise: I am not going to argue either side. After five months of discussions, hearings, testimony, conflicting evidence, speeches, arguments, etc, etc, etc, it is clear that intelligent people can look at everything that occurred and have very different opinions as to whether or not President Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election. In addition, some have argued that even if he did, it was not serious enough to warrant removing him from office.
Okay, so what’s troubling me? I happen to believe that a person who is elected to be a U.S. Senator has a responsibility to look at all of the evidence on all sides (my favorite quote of “seek to understand before I am understood”) and vote for what they truly believe is the right thing to do. I will stop here for a moment. Yes, maybe my problem is that I am too much of an idealist or simply not practical. And again, I am not arguing about the outcome of the trial. However, think about the process. Maybe it is my mathematical mind getting in the way, but if the evidence was evaluated and understood from multiple sides, isn’t it amazing that EVERY SINGLE Democratic Senator voted “guilty” and EVERY SINGLE Republican Senator except Mitt Romney (whom I will come back to later) voted “not guilty”?? If these 100 Senators voted their conscience, and the results came out this way it would be like tossing a coin in the air 100 times and every time coming up heads!
Okay, so I know what you are now thinking, “Harry, don’t be so naive, it’s all politics.” Really, should it be all about the politics? Is this what our Founding Fathers would have expected us to do? Is this what true leaders would do?
I apologize if this sounds too academic, but as someone teaching values-based leadership, something seems very wrong. Again, I am not arguing about the conclusion. I would feel very differently if 10 or so Democrats voted “not guilty” and 10 or so Republicans voted “guilty.” The fact that the voting was strictly on party lines (other than Romney) is what I find very disappointing.
When I discussed this with a few folks yesterday I was told, “Harry, they had no choice if they wanted to get re-elected.” Really? So is the role of an elected official to focus on getting re-elected? Or are they supposed to be doing what is right?
Okay, one more important thought: Mitt Romney, a Republican, did vote Trump “guilty” for abuse of power. Interesting that only one person out of 100 did not vote on party lines.
Senator Romney explained his decision in a press conference as follows:
“Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.”
Whether you agree or disagree with his decision, I found the reaction to his decision very troubling:
- Donald Trump Jr called for Romney to be “expelled” from the Republican Party.
- President Trump called Romney a “Democrat secret asset”, and added, “I don’t like people who use their faith to justify what they know is wrong.” Hmmm, no comment.
Let’s hope that more of our elected officials will focus on “what is the right thing to do, versus what is politically attractive”… and just maybe this is what WE should expect of the people we elect to serve in our government and hold them accountable to it.
I always appreciate your perspectives.