Following Acquittal, Mitch McConnell Absolutely Unloads on Donald Trump

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

I’m thinking Mitch McConnell isn’t much of a fan of Donald Trump anymore?

After McConnell voted twice to scuttle Trump’s impeachment trial and then eventually voted to acquit him of the Democrat produced charges, he took to the Senate floor and absolutely unloaded on the former president.

I’m confused. If Trump is “practically and morally” responsible for the riot at the Capitol, then why didn’t he just vote to convict? The constitutional question, though a good one, was made irrelevant after the Senate voted to uphold the legality of the trial. Given that, McConnell could have easily voted guilty and still justified his prior votes on the veracity of the trial itself. In short, it sure seems to me like McConnell was convinced Trump should have been convicted but that the minority leader just chickened out on putting that on the record.

Given that, this was McConnell’s weak attempt to have his cake and eat it too. He voted against conviction, but now wants to play the role of Trump defeater, attempting to doom any future political aspirations of the former president. I just don’t think that’s going to work. If the goal was to marginalize Trump, you don’t do that by holding another impeachment and seeing him acquitted. Today was a shot in the arm to the Trump movement, not a death blow.

Besides, I still just don’t buy McConnell’s argument. He continues to lean on a standard that no other politician is held to. When McConnell says that the Qanon freaks at the Capitol thought they were doing what Trump wanted them to do, that doesn’t prove an intent to incite them by the former president. To make that case, you have to argue all agency is relinquished by those who actually did the criminal acts simply because of what they assumed, correctly or not. Plenty of bad actions have come after a politician has shot their mouth off, but an actual standard for incitement does exist, feelings and supposition need not apply.

McConnell is likely done after this term anyway. I’m sure he believes what he’s saying here, but it’s just not going to matter in the end. If his goal for McConnell is to move on from Trump, this is the opposite of how to bring that about.