Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell spent the past four years tending to Donald Trump and rarely challenging the former president’s actions. Now, according to The New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer, the Republican leader wants nothing to do with Trump.
According to Mayer, who spoke with associates of McConnell, the Kentucky Republican always loathed Trump but saw him as a useful piece to stack the courts and advance his own agenda.
But things changed when the former president cost Republicans the majority in the Senate.
As Mayer reports, “Unnamed associates revealed to reporters on Capitol Hill that McConnell was no longer speaking to Trump, and might vote to convict him if the impeachment process moved to a Senate trial,” before adding that Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) relayed, “Three years ago, I said he’d wait until Trump was an existential threat to the Party, and then cut him loose. He’s been furious with Trump for a long time. Many who know him have talked with him about how much he hates Trump.”
As it stands now, McConnell would like to see Trump impeached — as well as banned from running for office again — as long as he is not blamed for it.
“Any pretense that McConnell could maintain control over Trump or over the Party’s fate unravelled after the 2020 election,” Mayer wrote. “McConnell was caught between denouncing Trump’s lies and alienating his supporters, thereby risking the loss of the two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff. Faced with a choice between truth and self-interest, McConnell opted for the latter.”
McConnell has decided to cut his losses, according to political consultant Jim Manley.
“There is no going back now. He has decided to cut his losses, and do what he can to make sure Trump is no longer a threat to the Republican Party,” Manley suggested before adding that Republicans “have gotten as much out of Trump as they can, and it’s now time to make sure Trump is damaged goods.”
“If McConnell can muster the additional sixteen Republican votes necessary for a conviction—doing so requires the assent of two-thirds of the Senate, and the fifty Democratic senators are expected to vote as a bloc—he will have effectively purged Trump from the Party,” Mayer wrote. “Moreover, after a conviction, the Senate could hold a second vote, to bar Trump permanently from running for any federal office. Such a move might strengthen McConnell’s clout within the Party and help his wing of traditional Republicans re-ëstablish itself as the face of the G.O.P.”