The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion McConnell has basically written the Senate’s censure resolution already

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

After the votes were counted, and former president Donald Trump escaped a guilty verdict in his trial, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the floor to tell his colleagues and the rest of us how he really feels about the twice-impeached and soundly defeated Trump.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), apple-polisher for Trump, told Fox News on Sunday that McConnell needed to get a “load off his chest.” Graham declared that McConnell is “an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all this.” That’s Graham speaking to Fox. Where you stand depends upon who’s giving you airtime and asking the questions. Ah, but I digress.

At issue here is McConnell’s view. He held nothing back, even after his not-guilty vote in the trial let Trump off the hook.

But I listened carefully, as I’m sure you did, too. McConnell’s case against Trump was a case for a guilty verdict. He wimped out. But his words did not disappear.

In fact, they would fit perfectly into a censure resolution, one that I’m sure McConnell or one of his GOP colleagues will — or should — introduce when they return to town from their recess.

Without further ado, here is McConnell’s denunciation captured in what a Senate censure resolution might look like:

Senate resolution censuring President Donald J. Trump for provoking an attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Whereas, President Donald J. Trump on Jan. 6, and on earlier occasions, thundered that shadowy forces are stealing our country, and fed a intensifying crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole that the presidential election had been stolen from him;

Whereas, President Trump is practically and morally responsible for inducing a mob to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, where they beat and bloodied members of the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department, stormed the Senate floor, tried to hunt down the speaker of the House, built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president;

Whereas, the people who stormed the building, carrying Trump banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him, believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president, and that they were assaulting the Capitol in his name;

Whereas, President Trump seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out;

Whereas, whatever President Trump may claim he thought might happen on Jan. 6, in response to his call to supporters to come to Washington, by the afternoon, following his rally with them at the Ellipse, he was watching the same live event as the rest of the world;

Whereas, while former aides and loyal allies begged him to call off the mob, President Trump reportedly watched television happily as the chaos unfolded and kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election;

Whereas, after it was clear that Vice President Mike Pence was in danger, and the rioters continued their rampage, President Trump sent a further tweet attacking his vice president;

Whereas, even when President Trump did halfheartedly begin calling for peace, he did not call right away for the riot to end, and did not tell the mob to depart until later, and even then he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals who invaded the Capitol;

Whereas, President Trump’s actions were unconscionable and a disgraceful dereliction of duty by not taking steps so federal law could be faithfully executed, and order restored: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Senate:

Censures President Trump for the actions he took as outlined in this resolution, including attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election and provoking the reckless and disgraceful actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, allowing this statement of censure to remain intact for all time.

And calls upon President Trump to urge his supporters not to engage in violence and to denounce any further acts of violence associated with the 2020 presidential election results.

I don’t really care what Graham has to say about this. But what authentic, self-respecting Senate Republican wouldn’t embrace the words of their party’s leader?

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: A conversation with Jamie Raskin

Ruth Marcus: Trump’s impeachment lawyers had a weak case, argued badly

Colbert I. King: In rallying to Donald Trump, Senate Republicans sacrificed Mike Pence

Max Boot: The Senate got smoking-gun evidence of Trump’s guilt. Republicans didn’t care.

Jennifer Rubin: Could Trump be disqualified through other means?