President Donald Trump could have walked away from his 2020 election defeat as the certain nominee for 2024, should he have wanted it. Even if he did not want to run for President again, he could have been a king maker within the Republican Party, picking his successor and nominees for other offices. Instead Donald Trump repeatedly lied to his followers that the election was stolen, made calls to state and local elected officials trying to get them to alter the results in his favor, and then encouraged members of Congress (i.e. "The Sedition Caucus") and the Vice President to challenge the counting of electoral votes. When none of that worked, Trump invited a mob to Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, the day the electoral votes were counted, then spoke to them, lighting the fuse that led Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.
It was that last development - inciting an armed insurrection of our government - that many Republican members of Congress decided went too far. Apparently, during the couple hours they spent hiding out from marauding Trump supporters who had broken in to the Capitol building to kidnap or kill them, those Republicans came to the realization that Donald Trump is a threat to the American democracy. Who knew?
Actually a lot of us knew. Many of us warned that the survival of the American Republic was at stake in last November's election. During his time in office, Trump had shown utter contempt for our Constitution and democratic institutions. He expressed admiration for brutal dictators and their tactics in suppressing democratic uprisings. He clearly longed to be an autocrat and had fully intended to seize dictatorial power if given a second term. And, if about 45,000 votes in three Biden states had gone differently, Trump would have received his wish.
This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives will vote to impeach Donald Trump, the first President to be impeached for the second time. The articles of impeachment will be immediately transmitted to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is demoted to Minority Leader on the 20th, initially resisted the idea of impeachment and said it couldn't be taken up until the 19th, the day before Trump leaves office.
In the last 24 hours, McConnell has changed his mind. McConnell and future Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are discussing using emergency rules to possibly bring the Senate back from its recess early. What's worse for Trump is that McConnell is now indicating he may support the House's impeachment articles. He would no doubt bring with him at least 16 more Republicans, enough to secure Trump's conviction.
But that's not the vote McConnell and the other Senate Republicans are most interested in. Following Trump's conviction, a second vote would be taken on whether to disqualify Trump from ever holding federal office again. The disqualification vote would take just a simple majority. Most Republicans in the Senate want Trump gone.
Over the last four years, the GOP has jettisoned its conservative principles to become a personality cult which feeds on Trump's lies and wild conspiracy theories. Supposedly McConnell is bothered by the GOP's loss of its conservative principles.
Back in the real world, McConnell cares little about conservative principles, but cares a lot about political power. The fact is last November Trump ran behind virtually every Republican statewide candidate in the country. Then the Georgia runoff election came, and in a protest vote against Trump, Republican voters crossed over to elect two Democrats. McConnell now views Trump as a political albatross. He realizes the Democrats are about to hand him and his fellow Senate Republicans the opportunity to remove the Trump albatross from the neck of the Republican Party. And they make take it.
OOP's short takes:
- Three GOP members of Congress, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, both of Arizona, are being questioned about their role in assisting Ali Alexander, leader of the Stop the Steal group whose rally culminated in the storming of the Capitol. Alexander is claiming he needs $2,000 a day for security since the rally because he is being targeted by “witches and Wiccans” who “are putting hexes and curses on us." Alexander has been convicted of two felonies, property theft in 2007 and credit card abuse in 2008.
- Don't be surprised if the attempted insurrection of the Capitol on the 6th turns out to involve a lot more planning and assistance than has so far been revealed.
- Congressional criticism of Vice President Pence not implementing the 25th Amendment to remove Trump is beyond unfair. Pence simply does not have the authority to do that on his own...he has to have a majority of the Cabinet members support his decision. Given that three have already resigned since the coup attempt last week, Pence is left with several acting cabinet members i.e. Trump stooges, who would never vote to remove the President. The real blame for Pence's inability to use the 25th belongs with Congress as it has never used the option under the 25th Amendment to create another body to replace the cabinet when it came to considering the fitness of the President. That should have been done decades ago.
- Indiana's Eli Lilly's PAC has announced that it expects the Congressional candidates to whom it contributes should show “respect for people and respect for our democratic process and institutions" and that it would "suspend political giving to those who voted against certification of the 2020 election results.” That includes, four members of Indiana's congressional delegation, Jim Banks, Jackie Walorski, Greg Pence, and Jim Baird. Other Indiana members of Congress bailed on challenging the results after the attack on the Capitol.
- The Lincoln Project has played a lead role in encouraging Corporate America to defund members of the Sedition Caucus. Scores of companies have announced that they are cutting off contributions to those members of Congress who pulled the stunt of trying to challenge the electoral college results.
- Some Republicans balked at wearing masks when members of the House were moved off floor to a more secure location. Now they're angry at metal detectors being installed at the entrance of the House chambers. Geez, when did my GOP become the party of stupid?