Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to call out Trump on anniversary of Jan. 6 attack on Capitol
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., marked the anniversary of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol on Thursday by refusing to blame President Trump and his right-wing supporters for carrying out the violent attack.
Even as he denounced “criminals,” McConnell did not even mention the obvious leading role that Trump and his MAGA loyalists played in the effort to violently prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory.
“January 6th, 2021 was a dark day for Congress and our country,” The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job.”
Instead of denouncing Trump and his Republican acolytes, McConnell accused Democrats of seeking to “exploit this anniversary” by pushing for new protections for American democracy.
He incongruously used his statement to push back against Democratic efforts to tweak the filibuster and pass voting protections with simple majority votes over the objections of the GOP.
“It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves,” McConnell said.
McConnell did not even mention the effort to reform the Electoral Count Act, changes which would make it clear that an effort like Trump’s to overturn the results of presidential elections cannot ever be repeated.
The statement caps a remarkable about-face by McConnell and other Republican leaders from the first hours and days following the storming of the Capitol.
McConnell was initially one of the strongest voices denouncing the violent insurrection effort and made no secret that he considered Trump to be “practically and morally responsible” for it.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also called out Trump as did many senior GOP lawmakers.
But the vast majority of Republicans quickly abandoned their stand and regrouped to backed Trump’s effort to whitewash the attack.
McConnell opposed the impeachment of Trump, which would have barred him from serving in federal office. That fateful decision opened the door for the former president to launch a political comeback, which he hopes will be capped by
Even though McConnell has remained on Trump’s enemies list, he has studiously avoided taking on Trump directly, opening the door to him to regain near total dominance over the Republican Party as the midterm elections loom.