It was just minutes after he voted to acquit Donald Trump in a Senate impeachment trial last Saturday that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave a stunning speech blaming the former president for a Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill and calling his actions a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
The remarks haven’t gone over well with many Republicans, however — and now, even some in McConnell’s home state are calling for his resignation from his role as Republicans’ leader in the Senate.
According to the Independent Journal Review (IJR), Don Thrasher, who chairs Nelson County, Kentucky’s GOP, tweeted out a statement Tuesday excoriating the senator and saying McConnell went against the “will” of his constituents.
“Given that the county party that I represent supports President Trump overwhelmingly and your complete and total disdain for the will of your constituents here in Nelson County I am formally demanding you resign your leadership position within our party’s caucus in the United States Senate,” Thrasher declared.
“The overwhelming number of Republicans in Nelson County are not on your side on this issue and I speak on their behalf,” he added. “I cannot speak for other county parties in Kentucky but if pressed for my thought I would say without reservation their constituents agree with my position on the matter.”
Demand For McConnell’s Resignation As Republican Caucus Leader From Republican Party of Nelson County Chair Don Thrasher pic.twitter.com/sphhCai4TV
— Republican Party of Nelson County (@NelsonGOP) February 17, 2021
Trump wants McConnell gone, too
Of course, Thrasher is hardly alone in expressing dissatisfaction with McConnell. Also on Tuesday, former President Trump issued what ABC News described as a “rare statement” in which he promised to back a primary challenger to the Kentucky senator.
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said. “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse.”
According to ABC, Trump went on to call McConnell a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
The day before, McConnell explained in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that while there is “no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility” for the Capitol riot, “after intense study, I concluded that Article II, Section 4 limits impeachment and conviction to current officers.”
“I was as outraged as any member of Congress,” he said. “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.”
The minority leader still has six years before he’s up for re-election, meaning Kentuckians — and Republicans everywhere — have a long way to go.