A lot’s been said about Mitch McConnell’s refusal to convict Donald Trump for
high crimes and
The little I’ve read focuses on two criticisms. First is the tenuousness of his
objection–that the Constitution forbids trying Trump now that he’s left
office. Second is McConnell’s own role in delaying the hearing. Even if you
support his interpretation, and even if you don’t suspect that he manipulated
the circumstances, there’s still reason to object to his defense. That’s been
bugging me all week.
Everyone involved recognized the relevance of the Constitution before the trial
began. The entire Senate agreed that they would consider constitutionality as
a precursor to the
and they further agreed that they would answer the question for themselves with
a simple majority vote. It was under those terms that the body collectively
decided that yes, it is indeed lawful to try a former President.
So they proceeded, and they eventually acquitted our former President.
In his closing remarks, McConnell could have said that he voted for the defense
because everyone knows that Donald Trump is a calm, rational person. He could
have said that he voted for the defense because he hated Representative
Raskin’s neckties. He’d have to answer to some angry constituents, but (just
like the man he protected) he’s not lawfully obligated to be reasonable.
McConnell’s explanation for voting to acquit the President is the only
justification that he’s technically restricted from holding.
As a member of the Senate, McConnell is bound by the rules of that body,
obviously including the ones he authored. Plenty of people have accused Trump
of dereliction of duty in the weeks and months leading up to the insurrection.
It’s ironic that the senator from Kentucky has propped up the only excuse which
incriminates him of the same offense.