So Donald Trump’s “best week of his presidency” has happened. It wasn’t really a great week to brag about, and it would’ve been the last of his presidency, had the Senate Republicans actually stood up for American principles and decided to convict him for his blatant betrayal of the United States. If you’re feeling uneasy about the week’s events and how they will bode for the rest of us in the next few months, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, Mitch McConnell is worried too.
While he may be publicly reveling in the news of Trump’s acquittal – one that he helped to bring about – McConnell is already going into damage control to prepare for the worst. The Washington Post reports that he’s planning a weekend-long retreat for Republican senators and big donors, and it couldn’t come too soon. According to Cook Political Report, he’s slipped from being a likely favorite for re-election in Kentucky. Democrat Amy McGrath has erased much of his advantage so far, and McConnell’s lead is within the margin of error.
While McConnell doesn’t speak much about being so close to losing his own seat in a notably red state, he boasted in a press conference following Trump’s acquittal: “Every one of our people in tough races – every one of them – is in better shape today when the impeachment trial started.” He then went on to talk about how the Democrats ought to prepare for a colossal political mistake. A few hours later that day, McConnell had a different tune, admitting: “In the end, it’s not likely to have much of an impact on any of the races.”
If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering which time he told the truth. You’re probably also wondering what impact this re-election retreat will have if any. With Bolton’s testimony leaking in one way or the other, things are not likely to get better for Republicans – particularly McConnell’s colleagues in swing states like Maine and Arizona who are already being out-raised by their opponents. This is likely the point where Mitch is only interested in saving himself.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making