Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell said that the “mob was fed lies” and “provoked by the president and other powerful people” — effectively echoing the claims made by his Democrat colleagues, who accuse Trump of inciting the chaos that descended upon the Capitol that day.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like,” the Kentucky Republican said.
McConnell’s remarks echo the statements made by many of his Democrat colleagues, who contend that Trump incited the violence despite the fact that he, at no point during his “Save America” speech, urged supporters to engage in lawless and violent acts. As the chaos unfolded, Trump — who at the time had access to his personal Twitter account — repeatedly called for protesters to respect law enforcement and refrain from violence.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” he wrote on Twitter shortly after 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
Less than an hour later, the president wrote, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
However, one week later, the House impeached Trump for the second time, with the single article asserting that Trump incited members of the crowd.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transfer of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” the article states.
“He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” it adds.
Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in supporting impeachment. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) openly opposed impeachment, he too suggested that Trump “bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”
“He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he said on the House floor last week.
“These facts require immediate action of President Trump — accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest, and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term,” he continued.
McCarthy told House Republicans earlier this month that Trump “told him he bears some of the responsibility for the Washington, DC, riots,” as Breitbart News detailed.
McConnell has not revealed if he would vote to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, stating that he intends to “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” He has reportedly told colleagues that their decision will be a “vote of conscience.”