(CNN)Mitch McConnell doesn’t say anything on the spur of the moment. Every move made by the Senate minority leader is in the service of his long-term strategy for winning power in the Senate.
It should be understood as more than an uncommonly direct condemnation of former President Donald Trump’s assessment of the US Capitol rebellion as “legitimate political speech” when the Kentucky senator denounced it on Tuesday as “legitimate political discourse.”
It was a clear message to his party, with fewer than nine months until the midterm elections, that allowing Trump’s election fraud fantasies and January 6 falsehoods to dominate the campaign may be costly.
“We were all in attendance. We were there to witness it “In response to the attack on the Capitol, McConnell said According to the report, “it was a violent rebellion with the intent of attempting to block the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another following a duly declared election.” McConnell, who is aiming to win the Senate majority in order to suffocate Joe Biden’s presidential bid, spoke out on a day that exposed the division that will plague his party all the way up to the midterm elections in November.
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing a “long game,” as he put it in his biography, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is playing a short game — because he will almost certainly need Trump’s approval to become speaker if the Republicans reclaim control of the House in November. The Republican National Committee statement, which was contained in a resolution that censured Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming for joining the House select committee investigating the January 6 uprising, was excused by the California Republican.
“Anyone who broke into the house and caused damage did so in violation of the law. These individuals, as we have stated from the outset, should be imprisoned, and “McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju that the resolution was referring to subpoenas issued by the committee to RNC leaders who were in Florida at the time of the Capitol attack, a charge that McCarthy denied.
The censure resolution, on the other hand, made no such distinction. Furthermore, the committee has been given authority by the Democratic-controlled House to investigate events that occurred up to and including January 6, 2021.
Trump has the potential to divert attention away from Biden’s criticisms.
As a result of the demagoguery, allegiance demands, and obsessions of the ex-President, the Republican Party is once again being driven into internal recriminations and down an extreme path that could result in violence and further assaults on democracy in the future.
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Whitewashing of the true nature of the rebellion is characteristic of the cult-like subservience many members of the Republican Party still demonstrate toward Trump and his administration. Moreover, it demonstrated that Republicans must now embrace not just Trump’s stolen election fantasy but also a willingness to deny the fact of what has been described as the biggest attack on democracy in modern American history as a condition of participating in the 2022 election campaign. However, such extremism has the potential to transform the midterm campaign into yet another public therapy session for the former President, who has yet to accept his loss in the 2020 presidential election. It will not go unnoticed by McConnell that Trump’s post-election tantrum contributed to the loss of the party’s two US Senate seats in Georgia runoff elections, which would have given him the opportunity to become majority leader.
It appears that the rage of Trump will drown out the scathing attacks on Biden’s presidency that Republican strategists have planned, and it will remind important suburban voters why they soured on the Republican Party during Trump’s presidency.
McConnell’s political strategy
The clarity of McConnell’s words, which is unusual in a party that is hesitant to disagree with Trump, is deserving of praise. Because of the ex-repeated President’s attempts to instigate a mutiny against him in the Senate, it demonstrates his command of the conference and confidence that he faces no internal threats.
However, the minority leader’s statements were also indicative of McConnell’s penchant to provide political cover for his senators, which is one of the reasons his leadership position is so stable. Senators who are questioned about the events of January 6 will now be able to point straight to their leader’s words rather than being drawn into politically dangerous quotes that could cause them to lose support at home. Critics may argue that McConnell’s statements came too late and were therefore ineffective. Despite his hatred for the former President, the Kentucky Republican has already made his own concessions with him. McConnell’s willingness to put up with Trump’s lawlessness was important in the election of a conservative Supreme Court majority that will last for years — and for which both McConnell and Trump will be remembered for generations to come. He was outspoken in his condemnation of Trump for his part in instigating the Capitol rebellion.
However, his choice not to vote in favor of the ex-conviction President’s in his second impeachment trial, which could have resulted in his disqualification from holding public office in the future, signified a recognition of the ex-continued President’s control over the Republican Party. And McConnell has already stated that if Trump is elected President of the United States in 2024, he will back him. In case it wasn’t already clear from the comment, it was a hint that the ultimate option between breaking with Trump and gaining another term as majority leader would not be a decision at all.
In response to the Republican National Convention’s self-inflicted wound, several of McConnell’s colleagues were blunt about the party’s strategic direction on Tuesday.
“It was no longer conversation. It was riot,” stated Sen. Thom Tillis, referring to the time demonstrators entered the Capitol building.
Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina sought to refocus the attack on the Biden administration, saying, “I believe that we as a party need to recognize that people are concerned about the economy, that they are concerned about the continuing difficulties with Covidien, that they are concerned about the future, and that’s what they want us to do.”
A rift that looks like it will widen.
In the autumn, Republicans will have a straightforward task: hit Biden for high inflation, his failure to fulfill his promise to end the pandemic, and his perceived weakness in foreign affairs. The rest could be decided by history, which has been cruel to presidents in midterm elections almost every time. Even while McConnell recognizes the ridiculousness of Republicans losing sight of their purpose, events on Tuesday demonstrated that the GOP’s march toward radicalism can never be slowed so long as Trump remains in power. However, while McCarthy’s ultimate aim isn’t inherently different from that of the House GOP (his position is motivated by a desire for power), he sees a different path for the party (and himself) to get there. After first condemning Trump for the rebellion last year, the California Republican quickly reversed course, placing his faith in the former President’s still-adoring base to win the GOP a House majority in the next midterm elections. Trump might use that majority to further his anti-democratic goals and as a springboard for a presidential bid in 2024.
McCarthy’s options are limited, however, because he has made his decision. He has already been warned by the ex-acolytes President’s that any deviation from the course will result in his expulsion from the conference. His aspirations for being elected speaker by his conference are dependent on his loyalty to Trump. Given that millions of Republican voters believe Trump’s lie that he won the last election, McCarthy may be making a sound political move, albeit one that is tinged with cowardice as he attempts to cover up an attack on his own workplace that put his colleagues and Vice President Mike Pence in danger.
Republican-on-Republican battles are frequently won by Trump.
Many mainstream Republican strategists are baffled by the Republican National Committee’s political malpractice in delivering the media a story that has been running for days and takes the focus off the Biden administration’s electoral troubles.
Scott Jennings, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush, said on CNN’s “Newsroom” on Tuesday that the decision was “a terrible mistake.”
“It was an unforced blunder. For political reasons, it is a significant distraction from what would be the most effective political approach for the Republican Party right now — talk about the future, talk about the state of the country, and talk about the economy, among other things — “Jennings shared his thoughts. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, a Trump supporter, may have realized that the attempt to pay honor to the former President had backfired because she has been distorting what the resolution says since it was voted on Saturday, according to Politico.
In an op-ed published on Townhall.com on Tuesday, she erroneously accused the “corporate media” of reporting about the resolution in a misleading manner. She also accused the House select committee investigating the incident, which resulted in the deaths of four people and the beating of police officers by Trump supporters, of “possibly ruining innocent people’s life.” The violence resulted in the beating of police officers by Trump supporters. “By joining in Nancy Pelosi’s partisan committee,” she claimed, Kinzinger and Cheney were “cheapening the events of January 6.” (House Republicans initially agreed on the necessity for a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the rebellion in the form of the September 11 attacks, but once Trump raised objections, McCarthy played a role in derailing the proposal.) When faced with the unprecedented spectacle of Republican senators openly disputing the language of the RNC censure, it’s easy to wonder if the ex-grip President’s on his party is beginning to slip. It was less than a week ago that Vice President Mike Pence denounced Trump’s accusations that he could have halted the certification of Biden’s election victory as “un-American.”
One day, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party may begin to fade. However, every confrontation since 2015 — between his increasingly extremist and dictatorial movement and the party’s establishment — has resulted in a victory for the former President of the United States. Most Republicans have learned from their experiences over the past seven years that, when faced with the choice between appeasing their leader and losing power, the vast majority of them invariably chooses the latter option.
And, despite his harsh criticisms of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, no one expects McConnell to follow in the footsteps of Cheney and Kinzinger, who have given up their futures in the party — as well as their positions of power — in order to challenge Trump.