( Gerd Altmann / Pixabay)
By a Senate vote of 57-43, former President Trump survived his second impeachment on Feb. 13. Despite coming up short of the two-thirds requirement for conviction, seven Republican Senators and ten Republican members of the House of Representatives voted in bipartisan fashion against former President Trump.
Immediately following his vote to defend former President Trump against impeachment, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flip-flopped to attack him. “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” Although McConnell believed the post-presidency impeachment to be unconstitutional, he did go on to suggest that former President Trump could face legal charges for his role in the insurrection.
Former President Trump struck back with a harsh rebuke, stating, “Mitch is a dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack, and if the Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Tempers inside the Republican party became so volatile that there were speculations former President Trump might start a third party. That all came to a halt after Senator Linsey Graham, R-S.C., started working to unite the party once again, “We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump.”
Less than two weeks after McConnell stood on the Senate floor and said former President Trump could be charged with crimes for the assault on the Capitol, McConnell swore allegiance to him by saying he would “absolutely” support Trump if he was the 2024 nominee.
McConnell spoke regarding the 2022 election: “My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November. Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability.”
While the Senate minority leader has been too concerned with winning elections to care whom he backs, former President Trump returned to the spotlight at the Conservative Political Action Conference. His keynote address was met with a standing ovation and preceded by major allies, like Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who sung his praises.
Former President Trump repeated his lie about having won the 2020 presidential election, saying, “I may decide to beat them for a third time.”
While the Republican party may enthusiastically cheer the single term, twice impeached, former president who left the White House in disgrace after a failed coup attempt, I question the wisdom of the party choosing him as a candidate with any optimism. He lost the popular vote by 7 million in 2020 and 3 million in 2016.
Now, after the Capitol riot he incited, former President Trump carries more political baggage than ever before. It’s true that Republicans do need to keep a splinter faction from making a third party, but I strongly believe that if the Republican party makes him the presidential nominee again, it will be at their own peril.