By Michael Olympios
The dramatic events on Capitol Hill culminated with the speech by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell last week which put an end, not only to Donald Trump’s second impeachment process but dealt a powerful blow to any political aspirations he may harbour.
In his heavy southern accent, the veteran politician and leader of the Republican party blasted Trump’s actions accusing him of being “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
In a way, McConnell exposed the brutality and savageness of the former president’s actions on that fateful day which stained American democracy not just with blood, but perhaps more with the fear that the most powerful man on earth, to use McConnell’s words, can endanger the most successful democracy on the planet because he didn’t like the outcome of the election.
“This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.”
McConnell, a senior Kentucky Senator, and a native Alabamian who studied history appeared before the senate looking more like a star university professor, delivered powerful political reflections before an elite crowd that will surely be remembered and studied long after he is gone, not just for their clarity, but mostly for the political wisdom they carry.
“It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe; the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was being stolen in some secret coup by our now-President.
“I defended the President’s (Trump) right to bring any complaints to our legal system. The legal system spoke. The Electoral College spoke. As I stood up and said clearly at the time, the election was settled.”
Why was McConnell silent for so long?
What makes many not just in the United States but also outside the country left wondering is why McConnell allowed Trump all these years to patronise the Republican party and poison the most powerful democracy with lies, myths and deleterious propaganda which, in the end, produced such a divided America never seen since the Civil War.
Divided overlies that served the purpose of a wicked man to stay in power not only to serve his political ambitions but mostly to further his financial interests at his country’s expense.
Let’s not forget how Trump reversed US foreign policy in Syria after just a phone call from Turkish President Erdogan in 2019, prompting widespread criticism for his decision.
CNN wrote at the time that Nikki Haley, President Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, issued a stinging criticism of her former boss, saying Trump’s decision to remove US troops from northern Syria as Turkey plans a military offensive in the region means the US is leaving Kurdish allies “to die”.
“We must always have the backs of our allies if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”
#TurkeyIsNotOurFriend, Haley, wrote in a tweet.
And Business Insider wrote that “President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northeast Syria has proven disastrous for the US’ Kurdish allies and shaken global faith in the US’ credibility.”
But it also raised other more sinister questions.
According to Business Insider, Trump’s move has had virtually no political or strategic benefits, which begs the question: was the president motivated by something other than US national interests when he pulled troops from northeastern Syria and effectively handed Turkey a win on a silver platter?
”It’s hard to explain Trump’s actions in Syria through the prism of what’s best for American national security,” Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told Insider.
“So, we’re searching for other explanations. What we know is that the president has business interests in Turkey.”
This is just an example of how Trump played the Republican party, twisted foreign policy principles, and arguably deteriorated America’s standing in the world by allowing the demise of good allies for no national gain, let alone any moral reason.
McConnell could have stood up to Trump the way the late John McCain did and force him to behave like a Republican president.
McCain called Trump’s statements in Helsinki “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.
“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake,” McCain said in a statement.
“President Trump proved not only unable but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”
McConnell tolerated this behaviour and let others do the dirty work and suffer the political cost.
Perhaps out of fear of losing the next election, McConnell kept silent to get Trump’s endorsement. And he got it.
Now, Trump acted like a wounded hyena that fights back.
In a statement after McConnell’s speech, furious Trump cried foul.
“My only regret is that McConnell “begged” for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him.
“He went from one point down to 20 points up and won. How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly.”
Trump knows that McConnell is now calling the shots and there’s little he can do to defend his political capital. But the old lion knows better.
McConnell waited for the right moment to strike and he finished the job.
Trump’s drama queen performance is losing steam rapidly and his brand of politics is fading away in the political wilderness of Washington D.C.
McConnell’s speech is not only not endorsing Trump’s divisive agenda but echoes the political pragmatism and principles that made the party of Abraham Lincoln so revered, both by supporters and opponents.
No matter what we may say about McConnell’s silence, we must credit him for casting the final blow to Trump.
Mitch McConnell is the author of Trump’s political demise by making it virtually impossible for the Republican party to ever endorse his candidacy again.
Perhaps that’s what history will remember him for.
Michael Olympios is an economist, business consultant, special contributor to the Financial Mirror