Late yesterday evening, Mitch McConnell gave a speech denouncing Donald Trump for provoking an insurrection in the Capitol. He stated, “there’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” Yet, McConnell was one of the 43 Republican Senators that voted to acquit the former President. McConnell argued that it was unconstitutional to convict Trump because he had already left office. McConnell suggested that he was “persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we, therefore, lack jurisdiction.”
Let’s be clear. The trial was a complete farce. Republican Senators went into the trial determined to find Trump not guilty. I am not a lawyer, but I know that an impartial jury cannot declare their decision before a court case. McConnell and the Republicans were never going to impeach Trump. They don’t have the spine or moral compass to punish Trump for actions that undermined the Constitution. They also don’t want to punish Trump for the Big Lie or inciting riots because they agree with him.
Trump is not an angry spirit that possessed the Republican Party. He is the Republican Party. Trump, Tucker Carlson, and McConnell all share the same anti-democratic, racist, and sexist ideology. After all, Carlson is the man telling people that George Floyd died due to a drug overdose despite his death being ruled a homicide. We have actual footage of a police officer suffocating Floyd, but Carlson will deny all forms of reality. McConnell is the person that wanted to make President Obama a one-term President and pretended that Trump’s Big Lie was legitimate until certification day. These people portray themselves as heroes of the working-class. Carlson is the son of a diplomat and stepson of the heiress to Swanson TV Dinners. Trump’s only experience with working-class people is stiffing them on their construction contracts. Mitch’s great grandfathers owned 14 slaves, so he probably bonded with Trump about their family’s collective history of not paying for labor. In other words, we cannot expect the Republican Party or conservative commentators to hold Trump accountable. The Republican Party spends its time in office trying to make voting more difficult for people of color, undermining progressive reforms, and screaming about how white men are left behind.
Political commentators have argued that McConnell’s speech was just another example of his political genius. They believe his ability to simultaneously condemn and support Trump is political magic, but the truth is the opposite. He is not Witch McConnell. There is no magic. It is just plain simple racism, fascism, and sexism. Trump is extremely popular with the Republican base. Mitch voted to acquit because it was what Republicans wanted. McConnell condemned Trump to appear respectable to suburban whites, but his base knew he was never going to hurt their supreme leader. Studies consistently show that Trump supporters tend to be the least educated, most prejudiced, most paranoid, and extremely insular members of American society. McConnell is always catering to the QAnon portion of the population.
Republicans often suggest we live in George Orwell’s 1984 because of “cancel culture” or “PC language.” Granted, Trump and his crew are not known for their reading comprehension, so they would understandably misread Orwell. Orwell would not have resisted a “cancel culture” that forced people to face the consequences of their immoral actions and language. He was actually condemning something much closer to Trumpism. He warned about “the Party” continually changing facts, discrediting the media, and playing on people’s paranoia. Winston, the protagonist in 1984, is often frustrated with the lies and lunacy of The Party and its leader. He reflects, “What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself; who gives your arguments a fair hearing and simply persists in his lunacy?” Winston could have been talking about President Trump in that sentence. It is almost like Trump read 1984 and thought, “Big Brother sounds like a good guy.” Alas, we know Trump does not like to read, but Ivanka could have read it to him before bed.
Nancy Pelosi, the majority leader of the House, rightfully pointed out that McConnell’s speech was pathetic. McConnell thought Trump was morally responsible, but he couldn’t bring himself to do something “unconstitutional.” The problem here is the logic doesn’t add up. The Democratic Party passed the Articles of Impeachment in the House, but McConnell kept the Senate closed because he suggested that impeachment should begin after Trump left office. After Trump left office, McConnell suddenly “realized” it was unconstitutional to impeach him. He planned to use this tactic from the beginning because he never wanted Trump to face the consequences of his actions. The impeachment was only unconstitutional because McConnell purposefully delayed the trial until after Trump left office. He is the only person responsible because he was the Senate Majority Leader. He could have called the trial while Trump was in office, and impeached him before January 20th. However, that would not have given him the excuse to roll over for Trump. McConnell cemented his legacy as the spineless enabler of the most incompetent President in American history. He suggests that Congress can still “censure” or “press criminal charges” against Trump, but he would change his mind if censure became realistic. He would cry witch hunt because that is his modus operandi. When it comes to Trump, McConnell will always believe that 2+2=5.
Many will argue that McConnell had his hands tied and that he could not outmaneuver The Donald. In contrast, others will rightfully suggest that McConnell had likely always held a more restrained version of Trump’s beliefs. Either way, McConnell faces the same fate as Winston in 1984 because after impeachment, “everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother (Trump).”