Progressive observers passed the proverbial popcorn Tuesday as Donald Trump issued a retaliatory attack on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell following withering criticism from the Kentucky Republican—who still voted to acquit the former president at the close of his impeachment trial on Saturday.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Banned from Twitter—his erstwhile weapon of choice for attacking critics—Trump fired his broadside, which blamed McConnell (R-Ky.) for Republicans’ loss of Senate control, via a statement from his Save America super PAC.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our country.”
“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First,” Trump threatened. “We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”
After joining 42 of his GOP colleagues in voting to acquit Trump—who was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13 for inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol—McConnell said on the Senate floor Saturday that “there is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of that day.”
However, McConnell said that he could not vote to convict Trump because he was out of office—a position rejected by most legal scholars and many of the nation’s founders. Furthermore, McConnell used his power as then-majority leader to delay Trump’s Senate trial until after he left office.
In his Saturday speech McConnell also accused Trump of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
In a Monday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, McConnell again accused Trump of “moral responsibility” for the Capitol attack, adding that the former president’s “behavior during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.”
On Saturday, McConnell noted that Trump could still be held accountable for his actions.
“Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run [out],” McConnell said after his vote to acquit. “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”
Progressive observers reacted to the Trump-McConnell fracas with a combination of disdain and delight.
Mitch McConnell pushed Trump’s trial until he was no longer president then said you can’t find a former president guilty in an impeachment trial (he’s wrong).
Good thing we’ve still got criminal courts.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 16, 2021
“Trump and McConnell deserve each other,” author Grant Stern succinctly concluded.Print