An oath of impartiality

As we anticipate the Senate’s trial of Donald Trump, we remind ourselves that members of the Senate will swear an oath of impartiality to perform their duties honestly and with due diligence.

The House of Representatives has impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate will decide whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. As citizens of the United States, we need every U.S. senator to adhere to his or her oath of impartiality, honesty and due diligence in both the design and dutiful involvement in the hearing.

I believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already failed the oath of impartiality in his announcements that the trial will be a quick process, apparently with no witnesses called and no new evidence examined; and that he, McConnell, will coordinate the trial with the defendant, Trump, and the White House counsel’s office. McConnell has told us “there is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”

As residents of Maine, we need Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to be outspoken and insist that the behavior of all members of the Senate is demonstrative to their oath of impartiality, honesty and due diligence. We need a process that allows the inclusion of witnesses and information. We need a process that recuses any member of the Senate that cannot demonstrate impartiality as they enter into the role of juror and, at the conclusion of the trial, exercise the authority of a judge.

Debbie Mattson


My grandparents’ Republican Party

My grandparents always voted Republican, right down the ballot. I remember my grandmother telling me that Maine voters used to have the option of choosing candidates all at once, rather than individually, simply by checking their preferred political party in the “big box” at the top of the ballot. Inevitably, my grandparents selected Republican.

Like most of their neighbors in Bangor, Orono and Old Town, they were conservatives in the tradition of Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. They believed in fiscal responsibility, were grateful for our NATO alliances and mistrusted Russia. Above all, they valued truthfulness, respect and kindness for others, independence of thought and personal integrity.

Would my grandparents even recognize today’s Republican Party? I don’t think so. What would they have thought about our current Republican legislators, both in Maine and in Congress, who make excuses for — or who remain silent in the face of — President Donald Trump’s bullying, his disrespect for our traditional allies and our Constitution, his racist remarks, his lack of compassion for immigrants and his vulgarity toward women?

They would have been disgusted by the Republican Party’s abandonment of values that were so important to our family. If they were alive and had the option, for sure they would not check Republican in the big box today.

Nat Wheelwright


1820 PAC funders

Seen those TV ads yet, sponsored by 1820 PAC that laud Sen. Susan Collins as a bipartisan mediator? Ever wonder who 1820 PAC represents?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 1820 PAC is a single-focus PAC created solely to support Collins. However, not one penny of their funding comes from donors in New England, much less even from Maine. Why?

Of the $776,000 that’s supported this PAC, a whopping $500,000 came solely from Stephen Schwarzman of New York City, chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group. That’s a private equity firm he established in 1985 with former Lehman Brothers chairman and CEO Pete Peterson. Schwarzman’s personal wealth is estimated by Forbes at roughly $19 billion.

Another $100,000 was contributed by Howard Leach of Palm Beach, Florida, a retired California food producer; Robert Burt of Northfield, Illinois, a former board member for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, gave the same. Contributing $25,000 each were C. V. Starr of New York City; Artisan Home Entertainment of Santa Monica, California; and Crow Holdings Pool of Dallas, Texas.

C.V. Starr & Co. is a broad insurance company headed up by Maurice Greenberg, former chairman and CEO of AIG and a major shareholder in that company. Artisan Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of Lionsgate, a major movie producer. Crow Holdings is a privately owned real estate investment and development firm in Dallas, Texas.

Why are these non-Mainers so committed to helping Collins in her re-election bid? One can understand the Republican National Committee supporting her, but what do these outside individuals expect to get?

Robert Nelson