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“We’ve all known that Trump is crazy. I’m done with him. I will never speak to him again.” Those words were uttered by the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, after he returned to the Capitol on January 6.
That’s according to “UNCHECKED: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” by Politico’s Rachael Bade and The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian, which was excerpted in the latter publication today. While the enmity between Trump and McConnnell is well documented, the book goes on to say that the senator almost supported the effort to convict Trump for the January 6 insurrection after his departure from the White House, but backed down after determining there was simply too much support for the ex-president among his fellow senators.
McConnell knew many of his rank-and-file were torn over how to handle the situation — and that in their uncertainty, they would look to him for guidance. If he declared the trial to be constitutional, breaking with Trump in the process, he could set the stage for a party mutiny, helping the GOP turn the page on Trump for good. It was an appealing prospect: conviction could enable the Senate to bar Trump from holding office again — and McConnell didn’t ever want Trump in office again.
But in all his years as GOP leader, McConnell had never led such a rebellion. And that day, he wasn’t sure he was up to the task.