Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of the first Republican figures to signal approval of Donald Trump’s second impeachment, has reportedly come to a decision on how he will vote.
Per Jake Sherman, though the minority leader flirted with the other side early on, McConnell is going to vote no on conviction.
NEW … McConnell will vote to acquit, he says in an email to his colleagues.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 13, 2021
This isn’t supremely surprising given McConnell voted twice to find the Senate trial of Trump to be unconstitutional. Sen. Rand Paul first introduced the issue a few weeks ago, with 45 Republican Senators voting to hold the trial unconstitutional because Trump had already left office (there’s also the issue of Sen. Patrick Leahy preceding instead of the Chief Justice as the Constitution demands). Earlier this week, the same question was voted on at the official trial. One Republican flipped to the Democrats, with 44 Republican Senators voting to nix the process altogether.
What likely happened here is simple. McConnell, early on, saw an opportunity to rid himself of Trump going forward via barring him from running for office again. But it likely only took a few hours for McConnell to realize the votes were nowhere close to being there to assure such an outcome. Thus, he dropped that idea very quickly and has been telegraphing that he’ll be a no on conviction ever since. McConnell has always been a shifty political creature, and it’s no surprise he sussed out all his options here.
Still, he’s unlikely to have made any new friends among the GOP voter base over the last month. He had a chance to call this farce out for what it was immediately and chose not to. Regardless, he’s here to stay within Republican politics so some level of tolerance is required, I suppose.