Retelling the story of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, Pence highlighted then-Senator Edmund G. Ross’s decision to break with the Republican party and vote to acquit Johnson.
“But at the close of the trial on May 16, 1868, he stayed true to his convictions, opposed the passions of his own party, and voted to acquit Johnson. He faced social ostracism and physical assault. Still, he knew he was right,” Pence wrote.
Pence goes on in the piece to compare Johnson’s impeachment to Trump’s, and calls on Democrats to buck their party and acquit the president in the same way as Ross. Pence also suggests such a move would be worthy of nomination for The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s annual “Profile in Courage” award.
“[T]he true profile in courage, as Kennedy understood it, would be a Senate Democrat willing to stand up and reject a partisan impeachment passed by the Democrat-controlled House,” Pence continued. “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?”
The op-ed comes the same day as the articles of impeachment against Trump were officially turned over to the Senate and it officially opened a trial. Republicans and Democrats have been arguing over the terms of the trial and whether or not witnesses will be called, and looking to see which party members may defect to support or oppose the president.