The turmoil that has erupted in the GOP following the departure of Donald Trump and the ascension of his psychotic acolytes to Congress shows no sign of abating any time soon. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) escalated the tension last night when he denounced QAnon zealot and devout Trumper Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), calling her a “cancer” on the GOP and arguing that the conspiracies she endorsed have no place in politics or the Republican Party.
“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country. Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party,” said McConnell.
Cynical and opportunistic to the bone, McConnell’s remarks are an obvious effort to appease the corporate donors which Senate races rely on and to try and distance the GOP leadership from the extremist core of the Republican Party.
McConnell has had over twelve years to denounce the racist and insane white nationalist conspiracy theories that have animated GOP politics but has not done so, whether it be the birtherism that riled up the hogs during the Obama year or any of the dozens of outrageous conspiracy theories promoted by the president and the members of his own caucus during the Trump years.
So we absolutely do not have to hand it to him for waiting until the last possible moment to address the insanity exhibited by the incoming class of Republican freshmen. Indeed, his tolerance for Republican conspiracy-mongering may have come back to bite him hard, because prominent Trumpian extremist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) declared the very next day that the inmates are in charge of the prison whether McConnell likes it or not.
“The Establishment wants to go back to the days of Romney, the Bushes, and the Cheneys!” tweeted Gaetz with a clip from Lou Dobbs’ FOX show that showed him at a recent rally in Wyoming where he denounced the “private insider club of Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney!”
The Establishment wants to go back to the days of Romney, the Bushes, and the Cheneys.
We're not going back. pic.twitter.com/qMMxYyywyj
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 2, 2021
The message couldn’t be more clear. No matter how many empty condemnations that establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell make, the heart and soul of the Republican Party lies not in Washington D.C. but at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and the rest of the Trump Caucus are waging a war to make any criticism of them a criticism of Trump — which may end up being a death sentence from the GOP’s voters.
While it is extremely disturbing to see these kinds of radical loonies so prominent in American politics, nobody deserves to have his party hijacked by political extremists more than Mitch McConnell, who has enabled and cultivated these hateful energies for decades in order to maintain an iron grip on power. Time to pay the piper, Mitch.