Ever since the election, we have seen the process of people who once were joined at the hip to Trump start the process of creating space between them as they try to remove the stain of the association. It is a process that Trump will find very familiar because it is his signature move, invariably saying of people who have become a liability to him that he hardly knew them, even though strong evidence exists of a close relationship. This process has now extended to those Republicans in Congress who, sensing that Trump’s star is on the wane, have also begun the process of distancing themselves from the man they once slavishly followed.
Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell, ever sensitive to which way the wind is blowing, is one of them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Capitol insurrectionists were "provoked by the president and other powerful people." pic.twitter.com/6kqSlAJHky
— The Recount (@therecount) January 19, 2021
There are many possible reasons for McConnell turning on Trump. One may be that he thinks that Trump has become a net loser for the Republican party and will be an albatross around its neck and that convicting him in a senate trial and instituting a punishment that prevents him from running again may be good for the party. Since he himself just won another six-year term that is likely to be his last, he is unlikely to face electoral repercussions from the Trump cult other than hostile comments. Another reason may be his anger that it was Trump that caused the loss of the two Republican senate seats in Georgia that deprived him of his most cherished position as senate majority leader. Another is that the Trump-inspired mob that stormed the Capitol ransacked the Senate chamber, a place that he clearly views with great veneration. And finally, there is the realization that the insurrectionists were seriously seeking to physically harm those members of congress who were not objecting to the certification of the Electoral College votes. If the mob could chant “Hang Pence”, he was clearly not safe either.
Even that most loyal of lapdogs Mike Pence is distancing himself from Trump, not attending Trump’s farewell but going to Biden’s inauguration, and not mentioning Trump or including him in the montage of photos in the farewell Tweet he sent out.
But if they think the stain of being so loyal to Trump will wash away easily, they had better think again.