The last time Democrats brought articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, the Republican Party reliably lined up to block any and all efforts at justice despite the fact that the president tried to get another country to dig up dirt on his political rival‘s son. In particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time “everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel—there will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.” He also told reporters that there was “no chance” the Senate would vote to convict the president and called for all of his GOP colleagues to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment, a demand that received near-100% compliance save for a wily lawmaker from Utah. One year and an entirely new impeachable offense later, though, and the senator from Kentucky has a new point of view re: removing Donald Trump from office.
According to The New York Times, McConnell has “told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party.” On Monday Joe Biden reportedly called McConnell to find out if it was possible to simultaneously allow the Senate to confirm his Cabinet nominees and hold an impeachment trial; whereas 2019’s McConnell would probably have insisted that any talk of impeachment was a nonstarter, 2021 Mitch apparently embraced the topic, saying it was a question for the Senate parliamentarian and that he would get back to Biden quickly with an answer. Meanwhile, the majority leader has reportedly been ignoring Trump’s calls, according to Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey:
And McConnell had ignored calls from him in the week prior. https://t.co/zPdddZYl2C
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 12, 2021
Of course, no one should suddenly welcome McConnell to the “resistance,” or assume that he suddenly grew a conscience, or let him be described as anything other than the spawn of satan who might, in this case, do the right thing because it‘s politically expedient. As the Times notes, McConnell “blames [Trump] for causing Republicans to lose the Senate,” which is clearly one of the reasons he’s turned against the president. Another reason is very likely the reaction to the Capitol Hill attack from corporate America, i.e. McConnell’s most important constituents.
This is what's got McConnell's attention. Don't get it twisted. https://t.co/zMUmWOaSX1
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 12, 2021
And then there’s the fact that Trump can’t do anything for McConnell anymore, particularly when it comes to appointing conservative judges:
McConnell: Can your boy give me any more white supremacist judges?
Jason Miller: Well, no.
McConnell: Then fuck him.
Miller: But, Leaser Guy, if we are president for life, then you don’t really need courts to…
McConnell: Fuck. Him.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) January 12, 2021
Still, it would be fun to see McConnell’s shit-eating grin if and when Trump is forcibly removed from office, knowing that the president probably begged the guy to spare him such humiliation. And of course, should that happen, it must never, ever be forgotten that McConnell enabled Trump for four years, refused to acknowledge Biden’s win until more than a month after the fact, and definitely deserves a heaping pile of blame for the events that occurred last week.
David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, declined the Times‘ request for comment, but pointed to the lawmaker’s remarks on the Senate floor after the attack on the Capitol. “This failed attempt to obstruct the Congress, this failed insurrection, only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our Republic,” McConnell said as the Senate reconvened to finish certifying Joe Biden’s win. “Our nation was founded precisely so that the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government and determines the destiny of our nation.”