It appears that President Donald Trump’s once impenetrable dam of Republican allegiance and fealty in Congress may finally be breaking after Trumpism hit too close to home for lawmakers last week at the U.S. Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reportedly told his colleagues and associates that he is pleased Democrats are impeaching the president for a second time, believing that the move will help him distance the GOP from Trumpism, according to a Tuesday report from the New York Times.
Democrats in the House of Representatives on Monday formally introduced a single article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in fomenting rebellion and encouraging his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol last week. Riots ensued, leaving five people dead—four of them Trump supporters and one of them on-duty Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
The Times reporting on McConnell’s personal feelings regarding Trump’s impending impeachment was confirmed by CNN, with one source telling the network that the McConnell “hates” Trump right now.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he believes that impeaching Donald Trump will make it easier to get rid of Trump and Trumpism from the party, according to a source with knowledge of the matter,” said CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz. “One source said McConnell ‘hates’ Trump for what he did last week following the attacks on the Capitol that left at least five people dead including a Capitol Hill police officer.”
The typically stoic McConnell has been livid over the president’s role in cultivating and amplifying discontent amongst his supporters with repeated false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, reportedly telling people close to him that he plans on never speaking to Trump again.
On the day of the Capitol siege, “Cocaine Mitch” also distanced himself from Trump’s relentless falsehoods that the 2020 election was stolen.
“I’ve served 36 years in the Senate. This’ll be the most important vote I’ve ever cast. President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments, to sweeping conspiracy theories. I supported the President’s right to use the legal system. Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over the courts rejected these claims, including all star judges, whom the President himself has nominated,” McConnell said. “Every election we know features some illegality and irregularity, and of course, that’s unacceptable. I support strong State led voting reforms. Last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm.”
“But my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence. The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a National Board of Elections on steroids,” he went on. “The voters, the courts, and the stage have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever. This election, actually, was not unusually close.
Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife, resigned as Trump’s Transportation Secretary last week.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” said an email she sent to staff the day after the Capitol siege. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Trump repeated the stolen election lies at the rally that preceded the violence on Capitol Hill.
In the days following his supporters attempted but failed coup at the Capitol, the president has only further inflamed critics, refusing to show contrition and denying that his rhetoric was in any way problematic.
“So if you read my speech, and many people have done it, and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it’s been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said about his pre-riot speech on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Republican Rep. John Katko (NY) became the first Republican member of the House of Representatives to publicly back Trump’s impeachment.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) scorched Trump as well, calling his actions and inaction on Jan. 6 the worst “betrayal” by a U.S. president ever. Cheney said she would vote to impeach Trump:
On January 6, 2021, a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.
Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
I will vote to impeach the President.
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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