A feud broke out over the weekend between Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s over the immediately former president’s role in the attack on the Capitol. Simply put, McConnell is taking a much harder stand than Graham on Trump’s guilt on the issue and McConnell said as much during the recent trial and after. Graham gives Trump a pass, to some extent, and thinks McConnell’s words will come back to bite Republicans in 2022.
FNC: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking flak from former President Donald Trump’s closest allies after criticizing the former president and could be setting himself up for even more of a showdown in 2022 if Trump remains active in the GOP.”
“My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November,” McConnell told Politico. “Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability. I’m not predicting the president would support people who couldn’t win. But I do think electability — not who supports who — is the critical point…I’m focused on ’22 … The future of the party will be determined in places like Wyoming in ’22.”
On Saturday during the trial McConnell blasted the former president and said that Trump committed “a disgraceful dereliction of duty” by his actions.
McConnell now on the floor. Speaking out against Trump saying election was stolen. Accuses Trump of trying to “feign surprise” that his supporters would take allegations of election fraud. Calls Trump’s conduct “unconscionable”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 13, 2021
McConnell: “There’s no question… that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth. These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only President Trump could end this… Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job… Instead according to public reports he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded, kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election.”
But on constitutionality, “I believe the best constitutional reading shows that Article II, Section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried or convicted,” McConnell said. “It’s the president, the vice president and civil officers. We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen…President Trump is still liable for everything he did while in office. He didn’t get away with anything yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation.”
Graham had a big problem with all those words. “I think Sen. McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans. That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns.”
Graham said Trump had pushed “narratives about the election that I think are not sound and not true,” but does not feel the former president’s words incited the riot. Two Republican leaders, two different views. This divide will not go away anytime soon in the Senate or in the entire Republican Party.