Editor, The Messenger,

An open letter to Senator Rob Portman, Feb. 13, 2021:

Senator Portman,

This is to express my deep, deep disappointment in your vote to acquit former president, Donald J. Trump. Despite overwhelming evidence regarding Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional behaviors and his obvious guilt, you chose to follow the party line for reasons I cannot comprehend. The Senate voted on Tuesday that it, and you, had the constitutional right to convict on the merits of the case. To claim that you or any Republican had the right to form a different impression of the constitution once the Senate majority decided otherwise, was a dereliction of your duty to abide by the rules of the Senate and your oath to maintain impartiality, listen honestly to the evidence and respond according to the Senate rules agreed upon by majority vote and by your oath to the constitution.

I have met you, and I have observed that you are an intelligent man. On a personal level, I liked you and was an ardent supporter of the work you did on the CARES Act. I held out hope that you could be future presidential material based on my belief that you were not driven purely by partisan politics, that there was genuine substance to your decisions and beliefs.

How you came to support Donald Trump’s lies and egregious and unpatriotic behaviors, simply boggles my imagination, based on my earlier perceptions of you. Yet, for four years you have followed the party line even when you could have done some things to challenge his behaviors and serve the greater good of our country. Today, having seen your vote, I am sad to say that I have lost all belief that you are driven by the nobler virtues I once ascribed to you. I had hoped when you decided not to seek another term in office, you would finally be free to speak for what I thought you wanted to stand for: truth, honesty, and, above all, putting your oath to the constitution ahead of your personal ambition and the ambitions of a party that had been taken over by Mr. Trump. Obviously, I was wrong.

I still believe that you are far too intelligent to have been oblivious to the devastation Mr. Trump caused, not only as president, but then as “Inciter in Chief.” I cannot believe you did not have essentially the same reactions to Mr. Trump that your former majority leader had and described in his own closing statement in the Senate. He too, chose to go a different path even when he knew that Mr. Trump was clearly guilty. Both you and Mr. McConnell gave up your moment to do right things. In my opinion, you are now complicit in furthering the cause of Trumpism and emboldening the worst and most violent members of our society.

Please do not send me some form letter about how you appreciate my input when in fact you don’t. My sadness and disappointment are now irrelevant. You’ve done what you’ve done, and I can only hope you can live with yourself for doing what I perceive to be a monumental disservice to our democracy.

Sincerely,

Ronald W. Luce

Athens

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