I must say, I’m gonna miss all those great Cocaine Mitch memes, but I doubt they will have the same flare after the coming intra-party battle is over.
Reports are flying around this afternoon that Senate Majority Leader (for a little while longer) Mitch McConnell has pointedly said that impeaching Trump is preferable as a way to purge him from the party.
ALSO: Biden called McConnell yesterday and asked if Senate could dual track impeachment trial and cabinet confirmations.
Far from telling Biden he would not discuss the impeachment, McConnell said he would check with the parliamentarian and get back to Biden.
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) January 12, 2021
McConnell cordially telling Biden that he’ll check on still confirming all of his radical cabinet, while they try to convict Trump in an impeachment trial, is certainly a change of disposition. For the past several years, all we’ve heard about is how hard-nosed McConnell is, how he “gets things done,” and how he’d never give in to liberal pressure when push comes to shove. Yet, this feels a lot like doing just that.
The reports do say that McConnell did refuse to confirm whether he would personally convict Trump in such a trial, though it would seem rather odd for him to brag about purging Trump and then not vote to purge Trump. Trying to figure out the thought process of these Washington politicians is a bit like asking a ten-year-old to do quantum physics. I mean, they can try, but it’s probably not gonna work out.
There’s also the question of when such a trial would take place. Is McConnell really going get behind impeachment after Trump has already left office? That would rub most of the party’s voting base as nakedly political, i.e. an attempt to bar them from voting for who they want to vote for via technicality. If Trump is convicted, he can’t hold public office again. That’s what many Republican establishment figures want.
I suggest it’d be much smarter for them to trust the voters, and trust that a new generation of leadership (almost all of whom don’t currently reside in D.C.) can take the mantle, versus completely splitting the party apart with a silly impeachment gambit. Seeking to ban Trump from public office will only make his influence more powerful. That’s obviously not what McConnell wants, but I think a lot of Republicans are thinking short-term right now, ignoring all the long-term impacts on the party doing this could bring. Besides, as I explained in my early afternoon article, there is simply no real basis for impeachment (see First GOP House Member Says He’s a Yes on Impeachment, Others Likely to Follow). Facts should matter, and no Republican should be pursuing impeachment just to try to gain a political advantage over Trump. Supposition over vague statements is not suitable to remove a president, nor ban him from future office after the fact.
McConnell does have a support base, though. Many in right-wing news see him as a cult figure. He’s obviously got a lot of power in political circles as well. Maybe he’s thought all this out? I kind of doubt it, though.
(Please follow me on Twitter…@bonchieredstate)