Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday delivered a searing address from the Senate floor condemning Donald Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol insurrection — moments after voting to acquit the former president of inciting it.
The Kentucky Republican maintained he would have "carefully considered" convicting Trump had he been in office, but that he believes Trump could not be convicted as a former president.
“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said. “The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things."
He then stated: “We have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen.”
McConnell’s words come as the Republican Party is facing a reckoning about its future in the post-Trump era. Some have embraced Trump, while others have shied away from him, including seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict the former president Saturday, joining every Senate Democrat.
McConnell opted not to hold the trial while Trump was still in office because he believed it wouldn’t provide enough time for due process.
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