For Donald Trump’s first two years, we saw Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell loudly and consistently support Trump’s every corrupt move. McConnell would take to the Senate floor and begin spewing one lie after another in the name of advancing Trump’s agenda. The two have been attached at the hip all along. But something has fundamentally changed.
In the three weeks since Donald Trump shut down the government, Mitch McConnell has all but disappeared. All we see is Trump doing very public battle with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, even as McConnell tries to stay out of it. Now it turns out McConnell is literally running and hiding from the shutdown, as CNN is reporting that he’s gone home to Kentucky. So what gives?
In theory it’s true that Chuck Schumer, and not Mitch McConnell, holds the fate of the shutdown in the Senate. Sixty votes are required for any bill to reopen the government, and that means at least seven Democrats would have to join the Republican majority to make it happen. But in reality, there are already more than enough votes in the Senate.
In fact we saw this last month when the Senate passed a resolution in overwhelming fashion to keep the government open with no funding for Donald Trump’s wall. Now that the newly Democratic-controlled House has passed the same legislation, Mitch McConnell is singularly preventing the Senate from voting on it again. Yet even as a growing number of Republican Senators are publicly calling for such a vote to take place, McConnell isn’t bothering to get out there and make an argument for why the vote shouldn’t happen. He’s simply hiding.
Mitch McConnell is a corrupt creep, but he’s a savvy politician who is generally good at corralling votes within his party. This time, however, he can’t seem to keep the Republican Senators in line who don’t want to go down with Trump’s ship. McConnell’s decision to lay low, and now to flee Washington altogether, seems to be more about hiding from his own party than anything else.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report