Even before former President Donald Trump left office on Wednesday, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled his impeachment plans to members of his own party.
On Tuesday, McConnell hinted that he might vote to convict Trump in the unprecedented second impeachment of a president — or in this case, an ex-president.
“This mob was fed lies”
The Republican leader’s latest remarks make it crystal clear that he lays at least part of the blame for the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill on the president’s rhetoric beforehand.
Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives a week before his term in the White House ended with the help of a handful of GOP lawmakers who voted alongside Democrats.
That effort made Trump the first commander in chief to face the prospect of a post-presidential impeachment. Trump’s foes, reportedly including McConnell, see the move as necessary to ensure that he does not mount another run for federal elected office.
In remarks from the Senate floor this week, McConnell added to his prior remarks, stating that the outgoing president “fed lies” to his base regarding alleged fraud in the November presidential election.
“This mob was fed lies,” he asserted. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
“It is bad for the country”
In fact, several prominent Republicans have spoken out against the Senate leader and others in the GOP who favor impeachment.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for example, said the effort would “destroy” the party.
For his part, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who hewed closely to Trump over the past four years, insisted that it is necessary to move on.
“What we need right now is for Sen. McConnell to unequivocally say that the second impeachment of Donald Trump after he leaves office is not only unconstitutional, it is bad for the country, and stand up and fight back,” Graham said.