Never underestimate the eager tendency of Republicans to continue spanking themselves long after Democrats have stopped beating them up.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “pleased” that House Democrats are throwing another impeachment bash for President Trump, with McConnell “believing that it will make it easier to purge him” from the GOP.
Some other Republicans, such as Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, have also said that they’re in favor of an attempt to remove Trump from office a whole seven days before his term ends.
This is expected from people like Sen. Mitt Romney, who has always hated the president. But for every other Republican, including Cheney, who believes that impeachment gives them an opportunity to wipe their hands clean and win a little political capital with Democrats and the media, they need to wake up.
That’s not going to happen. This is the same trap Republicans fall for every few months. There’s some controversy, major or minor, and Republicans rush to distance themselves from members of their own party in hopes that the press won’t come for them next.
Now that we’re a full week past the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building, it’s time for some perspective. Yes, it was wrong. Yes, Trump instigated it. Yes, everyone involved should be prosecuted. Yes, it would have been right for Trump to resign. And yes, Congress and law enforcement in Washington, D.C., need to ensure that such an incident never happens again.
That’s the extent of it. There’s nothing left to consider here. Republicans can publicly shame and criticize Trump until they’re blue in the face. They can impeach him or physically drag him out of the White House. None of it will win them any favors with Democrats.
Democrats will, of course, say nice things about the Republicans who support the impeachment, but once it’s over, it will have meant nothing.
It’s completely foolish for Republicans to want to “purge” Trump from the party, but even if they want to, they can’t. Democrats and the media will never let that happen. They are going to hang Trump and the Capitol riot over the heads of every Republican for the next 10 years and beyond.
The only thing Republicans can do is own their support for the president when he was right, which was more often than not, and tell it as it is when they know he was wrong.
A one-day riot, as bad as it was, is no reason to abandon every measure of support congressional Republicans rightfully gave to a president who remains a popular figure in the party. Despite all odds, voters put him in the White House once, and still more voters tried to put him in again. Politically speaking, nearly 75 million people chose the Trump path for America. One event doesn’t change that.
Trump could and should resign. It doesn’t look like he’s going to, so Republicans could wait for him to go. But, no. There’s a trap they need to play with instead.