Senate Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell could have done one critical thing on Nov. 7 when Joe Biden was declared the victor in the presidential election. He could have congratulated Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris and sent this message to Donald Trump: It’s over. He could have done the same at any number of moments since, like after every single one of the dozens of court decisions against Trump. McConnell didn’t do that. He waited until Dec. 15 to acknowledge the truth, giving Trump weeks and weeks to establish a narrative of election irregularities and giving craven Republicans in the Senate all the room they needed to try to help Trump pull off a coup.
That’s just what they’re doing with Sen. Ted Cruz vying with Sen. Josh Hawley to see who can be the more treasonous. On a conference call last week McConnell tried to call out Hawley over his efforts, but Hawley wasn’t even on the call. Then McConnell—according to sources who heard it—actually “made it clear to his members on Thursday that he is giving them room to vote their conscience on such objections.” And now they’re doing just that, creating a constitutional crisis and tearing apart their own institution to jockey for political position in 2024.
On Saturday evening after McConnell gave them the go-ahed, 11 Republican senators said they’d join Hawley’s challenge against the electors in one or more states. There are now 12 Republican senators, a quarter of the conference, who will object to certifying the election. Another 19 have said they’ll oppose that effort, and another 20 aren’t saying anything. It’s a festering conflict that McConnell has encouraged even though he supposedly “fears it will force his members into a politically difficult choice of either defying Trump or rejecting the electorate’s verdict.” That’s according to sources for The Washington Post. It’s a “politically difficult” choice whether to try to overthrow an election and kick off a civil war.
McConnell still has no comment on the fact that a quarter of his members are openly seditious. “We’ll be dealing with all of that on Wednesday” when the Congress meets to certify the election, is all he would say when pressed by reporters. This against the backdrop of the news that rocked the nation of that threatening phone call Trump made to the Georgia secretary of state demanding he overturn the election. Against the backdrop of calls for violence from an actual elected House Republican. In an atmosphere so fraught, the House sergeant at arms is telling members to travel between their offices and the Capitol on Wednesday through the underground tunnels and not go outside because of the potential for violence from Trump protestors, meaning they have to stay indoors in potentially crowded conditions in the middle of this pandemic because that would be safer than facing the terrorists outside.
That’s where we’re at. And it is largely on McConnell’s head. He could have shut this down weeks ago. He could have used his supposed ironclad hold on his conference to stop this. He has that power—he could threaten committee assignments and chairmanships, but he didn’t. He could have told Trump he wasn’t going to have the institution of the Senate foster his criminal efforts to overthrow the election. He could have, and he didn’t. This supposed institutionalist put the very foundations of the nation at risk. He has directly threatened the future of this republic with his refusal to fulfill his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution—to put down sedition in his own ranks.