Ayyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Mitch McConnell speaking on the backlash of insurrection and Donald Trump.
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a break with Donald Trump on Tuesday. McConnell (R.KY.) for the first time directly blamed Trump for the lethal January 6 insurrection on the Capitol. “The mob was fed lies,” he said in his final floor speech closing out six years as majority leader. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer (D.NY) getting prepared to take over as senate majority leader, outlining a rapid fire agenda for the coming weeks that includes confirming Biden’s Cabinet nominees, approving trillions in additional pandemic aid and barring Trump from holding office despite an uncertain road map in the 50-50 Senate, which is struggling even to adopt its basic rules.
Schumer and McConnell reached an truce Tuesday in talks to set the operating rules of the equally divided Senate making any action a challenge as McConnell demanded that Democrats drop any notion of ending the legislative filibuster. McConnell also seized the opportunity to make at least a rhetorical break with Trump at a moment when the consequences are low, with Trump leaving office, and the benefits being high, and possibly winning back donors turned off by Trump’s actions. Most of McConnell’s fellow Senate Republicans, however, showed little sign of following suit. Many must still contend with a GOP base that is supportive of Trump, and they could pay a price for denouncing him too forcefully suggesting the party could face a long struggle between those embracing Trump and those distancing themselves.
The push for accountability could make it hard on the other items on the Democratic to do list. A presidential impeachment trial has historically been an all consuming affair for the Senate, impeding virtually all other significant business, and previous trials have lasted several weeks. Trump’s first trial, concluded last February, lasted 21 days.
Speaking on the floor on Tuesday, McConnell sent a signal to Democrats by asserting that Biden enters office without “a mandate for sweeping ideological change,” given the narrow majorities in the House and Senate and Biden’s platform as a “presidential candidate who said he’d represent everyone.” Until negotiations over the Senate procedures are resolved, many of Biden’s Cabinet selections could linger in limbo. Committees will be unable to formally process nominees and send them to the full Senate, and the only path for a nominee would be if all 100 senators agreed to move the selection directly onto the Senate floor. Several Senate committees held hearings Tuesday with Biden nominees including his picks to lead the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Treasury, as well as his choice for director of national intelligence.