President John F. Kennedy's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, introduced Sen. Mitt Romney with a unique fact about the recipient of an award recognizing courage.
"Sen. Romney did what no senator in history had ever done when he voted to convict a sitting president and leader of his party facing impeachment," Schlossberg said.
For that 2020 vote, Romney was awarded the JFK Library Foundation's Profile in Courage Award — a choice not without irony, given Romney's contentious 1994 attempt to unseat Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Romney acknowledged that irony in his acceptance speech.
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"I want to thank Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack, for overlooking the decades our families have been on opposite political teams."
In receiving the award, Romney, considered a moderate Republican, called out the extremes in both parties.
"Some of us on the right infect the nation with claims of election fraud, tech and media outrages, even vaccine fantasies," Romney said. "From the left come hyper woke accusations and antipathy toward free enterprise, the very means of our prosperity."
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Romney said those political squabbles divert from what he calls the nation's three greatest challenges: The rise of China, global climate change and the national debt.
"The take on these enormous challenges will chart the future course of our civilization," Romney said.
Presiding over the virtual awards ceremony was the Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon.
"Did you ever imagine that you would receive a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award?" Fallon asked Romney.
"No, that is not something I would've imagined," Romney responded. "I'm more likely to have found little green men on Mars, I'm afraid, Jimmy."
Asked if he had advice for young people thinking about a career in politics, Romney was blunt.
"The truth is, I've cut the corners more than one time, and I regret that. And those things haunt me," Romney said. "Life is a lot more full if you don't have to worry about having ignored your conscience."
Seven frontline workers described as risking their own health and safety to help others through the pandemic were also honored at Wednesday's ceremony.