Impeachment Dilemma: Republicans Rally Behind Trump Before Senate Trial

After four years of moving in virtual lockstep with Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell used his final day as Senate majority leader to make a clean break with the outgoing president.

In a speech on the Senate floor on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration, McConnell, the chamber’s top Republican, placed the blame for the violent January 6 siege on the Capitol squarely on Trump.

Yet with the Senate trial due to begin this week, McConnell is striking a very different tone. Just one week after blaming Trump for the riots, he joined 44 fellow Republicans in backing a Senate motion declaring an impeachment trial unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in the White House.

“The Republican party is the party of Donald John Trump for the foreseeable future,” says Ford O’Connell, a former Republican congressional candidate in Florida and a Trump ally. “The base of the Republican party loves Trump, and the base has that power over elected officials in Washington.”

In his final days in office, Trump briefly toyed with the possibility of forming a “Patriot party”. But his allies now say the former president has gone off the idea, given the US system makes third parties exceedingly unlikely to succeed at the national level.

“The idea of a third party, while it sounds enticing in theory, in practicality it is a disaster,” says O’Connell. “It is the quickest way to make sure that you never get to power again.”

Read more from Lauren Fedor at the Financial Times

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published this page in In The News 2021-02-10 13:00:33 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy