Former President Donald Trump has been out of office less than a week and the Republican party is — to some degree — already in a state of disarray.
According to The Hill, a number of high-profile Republicans are pointing fingers at Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for causing a further divide within the party in the wake of remarks he made after the Capitol riots in which he squarely blamed Trump for the tragic events of that day.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said at the time, causing an uproar on social media among Trump’s supporters who immediately labeled the Kentucky senator a “RINO,” among other insults.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), have come out in recent days demanding that McConnell do whatever he can to quash the upcoming Senate impeachment trial for Trump, which Paul says will rip the party apart if Republicans go along with it.
“Republicans, particularly Republican leadership, goes along with this impeachment, they’ll destroy the party,” Paul said. “And so I think it’s a huge mistake. I think it’s a hugely partisan exercise on the part of the Democrats. But for Republicans who go along with it, I think they’ll destroy our party.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also called out McConnell by name, echoing Paul’s message that Trump’s second impeachment is unconstitutional and implored Republican leaders to “fight back.”
McConnell, so far, hasn’t eluded to whether or not he’s in favor of convicting Trump in a Senate trial, which according to NPR will begin on February 8. Given the growing rift in the party, especially less than two years before the 2022 midterm elections, it’s not a stretch to say that if Republicans join Democrats in convicting the former president, tens of millions of Americans will likely express their frustration at the polls.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) confirmed that Trump supporters are not liking what they’re seeing within the ranks of Senate GOP leadership, saying he’s “hearing a lot of the same criticism from folks back home.”
In the meantime, you can bet your bottom dollar that Senate Democratic leadership will do everything they can to strike a deal with McConnell and other moderate Republican senators to join their side, as a successful conviction of Trump would likely eliminate any chance of Trump running for office again in the future.