Mitch McConnell Calls Biden ‘The People’s Choice,’ Calls Trump A Cab Out Of Washington
Senate Majority (soon-to-be-Minority) Leader Mitch McConnell torched Donald Trump on the Senate floor Tuesday. He noted that the last time the Senate convened was after a MAGA mob had attacked Congress on January 6.
MCCONNELL: We had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who'd tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies.They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.
Trump would love to distance himself from the mob he incited, but McConnell isn't letting him. This is a big deal. Before Trump's first annual Senate impeachment trial, McConnell (said he) believed Trump hadn't done anything wrong. He told Sean Hannity that he was actively coordinating with the White House and there'd be "no difference between the president's position and our position."
McConnell and Trump obviously don't share the same position about the Capitol siege. Trump still insists he did nothing wrong, just like his perfect Ukraine call. However, McConnell stated outright that Trump's “Save America" rally speech was a pack of lies. He accused Trump of provoking a mob that broke into the Capitol and killed five people, including a police officer.
.@senatemajldr on the U.S. Capitol Attack: "The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other pow… https://t.co/tkJeMPBt2r— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1611076467.0
Ted Cruz presided over the Senate today, and the Texas senator wasn't spared McConnell's scorn. It's not a stretch to identify Cruz and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley as among the “powerful people" who provoked the MAGA mob.
MCCONNELL: They tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation, not even for one night.
McConnell's use of “they" is vague, in a way that should concern Trump and his Senate enablers. Does he mean the mob alone tried to use “fear and violence" to block Joe Biden's election certification or does he consider Trump and “other powerful people" willing accomplices in the siege? The mob invaded the Capitol on Trump's behalf, and it doesn't help his case that he tried to exploit the attack to further his own ends.
MCCONNELL: We certified the people's choice for their 46th president. [Wednesday] President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be sworn in.
Back in November, when McConnell was playing along with Trump and pretending Biden hadn't cleaned his clock, he said that Trump was “100 percent within his rights" to challenge the results. He even parroted the GOP talking points about ensuring that “all legal ballots" are counted and all “illegal ballots" are
put in the Black voter pile not counted. However, McConnell, while evil, is not an idiot. He left clear exit ramps for Trump. The first was when states certified their election results. Trump ignored this and kept pushing on toward Kraken-burg. Finally, McConnell himself said “enough already" and congratulated President-elect Biden after the Electoral College voted on December 14. But Trump and his QAnon squad just cranked up the crazy.
McConnell wanted to preserve his Senate majority and everything was riding on the Georgia Senate runoff on January 5. This was a delicate dance, and Trump has about a dozen left feet. He went beyond fighting the good fight before accepting his fate. He attacked Republican elections officials in Georgia and even the Republican governor. He couldn't stay on message at Georgia campaign rallies. Republican internal polling suggested that the leaked call of Trump pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Hawley's Electoral College stunt announcement were a fatal one-two punch in the runoffs.
Trump's ego-driven stupidity cost McConnell the Senate. He liked the Senate. He doesn't like Trump. McConnell is cutting him loose.
Once again, McConnell is a part of the Gang of 8. He gets intelligence briefings, and knows way more than what we k… https://t.co/PSHTYzx1Pk— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa) 1611080605.0
Former FBI special agent and current badass Asha Rangappa shared some interesting thoughts about McConnell's remarks.
Once again, McConnell is a part of the Gang of 8. He gets intelligence briefings, and knows way more than what we know on the investigation into 1/6. What he says publicly is meaningful in terms of seriousness re Trump.
It doesn't require a sudden heel-face-turn for McConnell to act in his own self-interest. The GOP has suffered repeated defeats under Trump. Worse, Trump's so delusional he still thinks he won when he actually lost in a landslide. He's determined to spend the next four years on a roaring rampage of revenge against every Republican he believes “betrayed" him, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who apparently wasn't loyal enough. Circular firing squads are usually reserved for Democrats.
Trump's recent shoutout to Grover Cleveland hints that he might announce a 2024 presidential run, and he's still popular enough among the party's QAnon electorate to win a GOP primary. This is why McConnell might find it tempting to ensure he's never permitted to hold office again. No, McConnell hasn't “seen the light." He's still sentient evil in a melting flesh suit, but any common Ben Sasse can rubber stamp McConnell's rightwing hack judges. And they wouldn't try to "dissolve" the Senate like the Star Wars emperor.
McConnell's speech isn't one you give when you know Donald Trump is physically incapable of expressing remorse or admitting wrongdoing. Convincing 17 GOP senators to flip on Trump is still a stretch, but it seems like less of one now.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."