Mitch McConnell spent decades chasing power. Now he heeds Trump, who mocks him and wants him gone.
How one of Washington’s longtime Republican power players succumbed to the preeminence of the 45th president
As President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was whisked to a secret location and cloistered with a handful of other top lawmakers, the Washington Post reports.
The senator from Kentucky had spent the past four years as one of Trump’s chief enablers, boosting his election by keeping a Supreme Court seat open, pushing through his agenda with party-line votes and standing by for weeks as Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen. But their marriage of political convenience had abruptly shattered three weeks earlier, when Trump exploded at McConnell for acknowledging Joe Biden’s victory.
Safely huddled with Democratic leaders as they watched video of police battling Trump supporters in the Capitol, McConnell reacted with anger and revulsion, according to Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who was also in the secure location.
But when it came time to hold Trump to account, McConnell backed off. While seven GOP senators voted to convict Trump following his impeachment by the House for inciting an insurrection, McConnell supported acquittal, ensuring Trump would face no formal penalty for inciting an insurrection.
Ten months later, Trump is once again dominating the Republican Party, expected to run again in 2024 — and utterly disdainful of the Senate leader who helped save him. Trump dismissed McConnell as a “stupid person” and suggested his favored 2022 Senate candidates should oust McConnell from his leadership post when they get to Washington.
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