In the end, ten Republicans gathered all their courage and voted for Donald Trump to be impeached. Ten, that doesn’t sound like a dam break in the party of the still-president, compared to the 197 others who wanted to crush the Democratic motion in the House of Representatives. But ten is also ten more than the last impeachment proceedings against Trump a year ago.
Yes, after the storm on the Capitol, which became more and more gruesome with increasing distance and increasing knowledge, one would have wished for more brave, more at least last-minute converts on the part of the Republican MPs. But Trump is not history yet and he still has a firm grip on large parts of the party. This historic Wednesday showed that.
You can complain, condemn that – and you are spot on. But one should not underestimate the – clearly self-inflicted – dilemma of the Grand Old Party: Without the base, which is still loyal to Trump, the Republicans would probably not have a majority for a long time. Apparently, this entices many not to endanger this support. Not even if these supporters act like terrorists. It takes courage to break.
The Democrats were sure to have the majority
Even without the ten Republicans, the Democrats had the majority to make Trump the first president ever to be indicted twice by the House of Representatives. None of their MPs was out of line. Even if some will not feel like having the second impeachment within 13 months, which in all probability will not end with a conviction again.
However, a few doubts have arisen about this apparently certain forecast. The reason for this are those ten Republicans who have had enough of going through all the madness of the current president. But also known statements by the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, according to which he considers Trump’s behavior “impeachable” and has not yet made up his mind, at least make one sit up and take notice.
What is Mitch McConnell going to do?
McConnell is a hand-washed Conservative power tactician who hurts more to lose the Senate than to lose the presidential election. But in his speech last Wednesday, which, mind you, he gave before the violent intrusion of the Trump mob into the Capitol, the 78-year-old thought it was noticeable how much he was shocked by Trump’s behavior. The fact that the loser just did not want to give up his conspiracy theory of electoral fraud and did not shy away from putting pressure on the courts, parliamentarians and members of the government, including Vice President Mike Pence, to prevent a democratic change of power.
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What is McConnell going to do? Will he go down in history as someone who knowingly leads his party into even deeper abysses and chains it to Trumpism for years? Or will he turn around at the very end and try to change course for the Republicans with his example?
Mike Pence shied away from breaking with Trump
One shouldn’t be too optimistic. Even the statement that McConnell first wants to wait for the investigators’ findings before forming an opinion seems ludicrous in view of what is already known. McConnell was in the Capitol, he was being taken to a safe place by the emergency services: because he, too, was in danger. In danger of being attacked by Trump supporters.
But Mike Pence was also in danger, in great danger. And yet, after days of silence, the Vice President decided to stay by Trump’s side until the end. Is McConnell braver than Pence, or at least more independent, because he doesn’t want to become anything anymore?
A new video from the President – full of lies
Trump published another video on Wednesday evening. In it he speaks – like a normal president – admonishing words to his people and calls on his supporters and all other citizens to remain peaceful. It is a speech that one would have wished for from him on Wednesday a week ago, when his mob beat a police officer to death, devastated parts of the Capitol, the heart of proud American democracy, and went on a manhunt for “traitors”.
The speech isn’t just a week late. It is also so obviously lying that one would like to forget about it right away. After all, it was Trump who only gave the mob the starting signal for the march to the Capitol at his rally. In the video, he simply untruthfully claims that his true followers would never use violence. Anyone who has ever seen this president incite his fans against the “enemies of the people”, either against political competitors or critical journalists, does not trust this statement for a second.
What if everything was much worse?
But the video of a president who has just been impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time has a particular addressee. And his name is Mitch McConnell. It will be exciting to see how the message reaches its recipient. It is quite possible that it has a soothing effect. In addition: Why spoil it with so many when the other side has already made up its mind about you?
However, should it be confirmed, which is currently more of an egregious assumption than a proven fact, that Republican Congressmen helped plan the assault on the Capitol, things could very quickly turn out very differently. Then even a power tactician like McConnell could turn back. Then something could happen that has never happened in the history of the country: an impeachment against a president could actually be successful.