Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stunned the nation last week following Trump’s impeachment trial by first voting to acquit the former president for inciting an insurrection against his own country before saying that Trump was absolutely guilty of the crime for which he’d been charged. Americans have been rightfully angry at his double-talk, and McConnell tried to explain himself in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.
McConnell pens a WSJ op-ed on his vote to acquit Donald Trump while arguing Trump was “morally responsible” for the riot https://t.co/GXZlpLwKKQ
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 16, 2021
The longtime leader of the Republican senate, who condemned Trump while voting along party lines, once again stated that the former president who’s become a cult leader of the GOP is guilty and despicable. It’s a confusing statement coming from the man who refused to hold the man accountable.
‘There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone. His 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.’
Rep. @tedlieu on McConnell’s post-acquittal speech:
“He sounded like a House impeachment manager for the first half and then contorted himself to explain why he voted to acquit. But also basically what he was saying is that he thinks that Donald Trump should be in prison.” pic.twitter.com/J3LwaEIfuC
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) February 16, 2021
McConnell conveniently chose to pick the less popular argument among legal scholars, who insisted that Trump could not be convicted now that he’s already left office, which gave McConnell and other Republicans an out, a reason to justify their self-serving actions to avoid the ire of voters who are still in Trump’s sway. It’s a particularly cowardly move considering that McConnell refused to bring the case to the Senate floor until Trump was already out of office.
‘Some brilliant scholars believe the Senate can try and convict former officers. Others don’t. The text is unclear, and I don’t begrudge my colleagues their own conclusions. But after intense study, I concluded that Article II, Section 4 limits impeachment and conviction to current officers.’
Why wouldn’t Kentucky state legislators be looking to censure Mitch McConnell for voting to acquit Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection — and then five minutes later telling the whole world Trump actually did it?
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) February 15, 2021
The Kentucky senator claimed to be “outraged,” but dismissed the idea that the senate’s job is to hold the president accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors despite the clear language of the Constitution that says the Senate must try all impeachment cases. It isn’t about “punishment,” although that is how the law works, but about accountability and ensuring that nothing similar to Trump’s attempt at a coup happens again under any other president in the future.
‘I was as outraged as any member of Congress. But senators take our own oaths. Our job wasn’t to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment. The Senate’s first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution.’
"It's kind of like telling off the bully but only after you’re a few blocks away,” says @andersoncooper on the diatribe Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered against former Pres. Trump, just moments after he had voted to acquit. #KeepingThemHonest pic.twitter.com/z3fJItSV7h
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 16, 2021