Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vocally opposed outgoing President Donald Trump's first impeachment last year. McConnell has been a key enabler of Trump's agenda—such as his 2017 tax bill and the appointment of hundreds of federal judges, including three Supreme Court Justices.
But after Trump's blatant lies that the 2020 election was "stolen" by Democrats culminated in a mob of pro-Trump extremists attacking the United States Capitol, even McConnell is saying the President is to blame.
Earlier this month, the Demcratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump for a historic second time, with 10 House Republicans voting in favor, making this presidential impeachment the most bipartisan in American history.
Now, the Senate has reconvened on the last full day of Trump's presidency, and one of its first items of business will be Trump's impeachment trial.
In a surprising Senate floor speech, McConnell indicated a markedly different opinion on Trump's second impeachment than the first impeachment a year earlier.
BREAKING: Sen. Mitch McConnell says the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was “provoked by the preside… https://t.co/CjNEqWE2EE— CBS News (@CBS News)1611080161.0
McConnell placed the blame of the Capitol riots—which resulted in the deaths of at least five people—on the President and his lies, saying:
"The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like."
While McConnell resisted calls to convene the Senate for a trial earlier than the 19th, earlier reporting indicated that McConnell was in favor of impeachment proceedings and potentially even a conviction.
People were surprised to see McConnell throw Trump under the bus.
McConnell before impeachment 2020: "I'm not an impartial juror." McConnell before impeachment 2021: the mob "was f… https://t.co/vybgbxRFAK— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig)1611080528.0
This. Reading the McConnell public comments tea leaves, it certainly feels like Trump is going to get convicted by… https://t.co/c2ZDrUqq0w— Angry Staffer (@Angry Staffer)1611080710.0
McConnell says insurrectionists "fed lies," and "provoked by the President." Doesn't sound like someone who's decid… https://t.co/M6aagvJZU7— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman)1611081076.0
McConnell just said the Capitol mob was “fed lies” and “provoked” by Trump. Seems like a clear signal that trump wi… https://t.co/HuBKFqfSgm— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1611081290.0
The cognitive dissonance I feel agreeing with McConnell is weird https://t.co/gm6KTlFt7A— Samantha Mahoney (@Samantha Mahoney)1611080671.0
Others said his words alone were insufficient.
If you are printing this uncritically and not prefacing and following it with the empirical fact that McConnell lie… https://t.co/svI2j1W7Yy— Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC (@Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC)1611077968.0
Those “other powerful people” who provoked the mob include U.S. Senators in McConnell’s Caucus. Unless McConnell… https://t.co/ZEk6NDRbrn— Alexandra Chalupa (@Alexandra Chalupa)1611080660.0
Okay, I'm deleting "Unless McConnell is voting to convict, I don't care what he says" so that I can add: Good. I'm… https://t.co/G6DD5LDpaG— Tom Nichols (@Tom Nichols)1611078976.0
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump could begin as soon as this week.