Mitch McConnell promised “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment, and he got it.
As the House moved to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway reassured Republican senators that acquitting Trump would be a politically smart move, the Washington Examiner reported. Although Trump’s acquittal is seen as a virtual certainty, it’s unclear what will happen next after Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) threatened to withhold impeachment articles from the Senate.
Reassurance from Conway
As was predicted, the House voted to impeach Donald Trump along strict party lines, with all Republicans voting no, all but two Democrats voting yes, and one Democrat voting “present” — the always unpredictable Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). While Democrats could barely contain their joy, many conservatives were left feeling that Pelosi had made a disastrous political misplay.
Conventional wisdom has long said that Trump would be impeached, then acquitted — and after impeaching Trump, Democrats are now in danger of losing leverage quickly.
But just to be sure, Conway met with Republican senators over lunch Wednesday afternoon — not that they needed much encouragement, as some Republican senators said.
“Eight weeks ago, we didn’t see what a weak case these guys had,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “When you see how weak these two articles are — I would hope that all 53 would stand firm on this.”
Conway discussed polls showing impeachment support going down and lauded Trump’s achievements, the Examiner reported. She told reporters after the lunch that Trump was having two of his “best weeks” despite (or maybe because of?) impeachment.
Calling Pelosi’s bluff
While Republicans in the Senate are often considered less reliably pro-Trump than their House counterparts, there is a feeling that the Democrats sealed their fate with an optics disaster, giving Republicans a wide opening to either dismiss charges or acquit Trump after a fast trial.
Indeed, some conservatives quipped that the “solemn” occasion being observed Wednesday was the destruction of the Democratic party — with many saying that impeachment would be a boon to Trump’s re-election campaign.
From a PR standpoint, it was less than stellar: Pelosi visibly scolded Democrats for applauding upon articles being passed, and the speaker invited accusations of gamesmanship with a last-minute threat to withhold articles from the Senate. Pelosi’s gambit is part of a wider Democrat-led shame effort to gain leverage in the Republican-led Senate.
Despite complaints of a rigged Senate trial from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others, Conway’s pep talk is likely unnecessary as Republican leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are calling Pelosi’s bluff. Both senators balked at the move as an admission that the Democrats had no case against Trump, with Graham calling it “constitutional extortion.”
“Whether you agree with impeachment or not, Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached a new level,” he said. “House Democrats refusing to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate because they don’t like the way we may do the trial — that is just scary. It creates a constitutional extortion mechanism that is dangerous for the country.”