Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, two of the most destructive forces in American politics in decades, got along well enough while the former was still occupying the Oval Office. They may not have agreed in temperament or style, but they were both devoted to the same plutocratic, reactionary agenda. For McConnell, Trump served as a useful rubber stamp on all of the regressive, right-wing lunatics that he wanted to pack into the judiciary. Once Trump was out of office though, the two had a falling out.
Despite refusing to vote to remove Trump from office after he was impeached for his role in the January 6th Capitol insurrection, McConnell criticized him over it, igniting a feud that has flared up sporadically ever since. The Senate Minority Leader wants to move on from MAGA and rebrand the GOP as something other than a Trumpian cult of personality, a prospect that seems like little more than wishful thinking given the stranglehold the disgraced former president still holds over the Republican base.
The decision to have Senator Tim Scott (SC) deliver the Republican rebuttal to President Biden’s joint address to Congress last night rather than one of the more diehard MAGA Republicans sent a clear signal that GOP leadership is hoping to move away from Trumpism. McConnell reinforced this signaling by speaking on Fox News today in the wake of Trump’s appearance this morning during which the former president made some pathetic remarks about Biden’s speech and called for McConnell to be replaced.
“We need good leadership. Mitch McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell,” Trump said on Fox News on Thursday, reigniting the civil war between the corrupt Republican leaders.
The Senate Minority Leader wasn’t having it, saying later that his party is “looking to the future, not the past.” He insisted that Scott is the “future of the Republican Party” not Trump. It would have been more accurate for him to say that it’s where he hopes the party is headed because it’s still unclear whether or not anyone will be able to wrest the mantle of true GOP leadership away from Trump.
It’s worth noting that while Scott is certainly an upgrade from Trump—in the way a stab wound to the chest is an upgrade from a bullet to the head—he ultimately differs in aesthetics only. He supports the same Draconian policies that Trump pushed for four years and both of their politics would lead to a more divided, weakened America. In his speech last night, Scott attacked Biden’s successful spending bills, abortion rights, and insisted that our country doesn’t have a problem with racism. He may have spoken more eloquently than Trump, but the substance was identical.
The Republican Party has no new ideas and simply slapping a new coat of paint on the destructive policies they’ve peddled since Reagan is not going to be enough. The American people need visionary leadership for the country and the only party even attempting to provide that is the Democratic Party. Let McConnell and Trump tear the GOP apart. The rest of us can focus on building a stronger, more equitable country.
McConnell on Fox News, asked about Trump’s comments on the Senate leader:
“We’re looking to the future, not the past, and if you want to see the future of the Republican Party watch Tim Scott’s response to President Biden last night. He’s the future, that’s where we’re headed.”
— James Arkin (@JamesArkin) April 29, 2021
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