February 9, 2022

We already know that Mitch McConnell doesn't like Trump. We also know that McConnell is a thoroughly amoral man who cares only for power, and will do whatever he has to do to retain it.

The Pence staffers who testified in front of the Jan. 6th committee are certainly reporting back to Republicans in leadership about the committee's line of questioning, and they're terrified by what they're hearing. In other words, I suspect there is some really explosive stuff that will come out when we start the public hearings. It will be riveting TV.

And Mitch is worried about the effect on donors. After all, he has a lot of Senate seats to defend this cycle, and no matter what Republicans say, they're nowhere near certain that they will take control after the midterms. More like whistling in the dark, I'd say.

So he makes this speech yesterday that gives the casual listener the idea that the Republican leadership is split, and turning on Trump. (This will help with corporate donors.)

Kabuki theater. No, Republicans aren't recanting Trump. There's too much power there, and they've already gone all in. So Kevin McCarthy, who desperately wants to be the next Speaker, hugs Trump even more closely. (Not to mention, they've fed the MAGA monster long enough that they're afraid of the whack jobs turning on them -- and that leads to fear for their actual physical safety if they dare deviate.)

In other words, good news for Democrats!

REPORTER: Is it appropriate for the Republican National Committee to censure members of Congress and [inaudible] legitimate political discourse in talking about January 6th?

McCONNELL: Let me give you my view of what happened January 6th. We are here, we are here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection with a purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That is what it was. The issue is whether or not the RNC should be singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That is not the job of the RNC.

"Well, Mitch McConnell directly answered questions today about the Republican party calling the attack on the Capitol 'legitimate political discourse.' Over in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy literally ran away from the question.

REPORTER: Can I ask you about the RNC?

McCARTHY: You know, make an appointment. It's not good to do it now.

"Joining us now is Steve Schmidt, former Republican presidential campaign strategist and cofounder of the Lincoln Project. Steve, what explains the difference today on this question between Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy?" Lawrence O'Donnell asked.

"This division between the two, Lawrence, has been clear from the very beginning. Though Mitch McConnell tried to distance this as much as he would or could after the January 6th incident, Kevin McCarthy famously went down to Mar-A-Lago. In those early days while Republicans were most worried about was the cash flow. the campaign cash. Mitch McConnell believed that the insurrection would obliterate Republicans' ability to raise money from corporate donors," Schmidt said.

"Kevin McCarthy took the opposite path. He wanted to make sure that the Trump pipeline of cash was intact. And so right from the beginning they have just approached this issue differently. Mitch McConnell today said the obvious, which is that this was an insurrection and had a political intent. It was aimed at disrupting the peaceful transition of power. And in the next breath, Mitch McConnell said, when he was asked a question, 'Do you have confidence in the chairwoman of the Republican party?', who was the head of the organization that said violence is a legitimate political discourse, He said he did.

"So it's all doubletalk, it's doublespeak, meant to obscure the reality that we have a two-party system and one of those two parties has become an autocratic vessel in the United States."

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