A ‘sanctimonious’ Mitch McConnell will soon be challenged for his leadership of the Republican Party, Sean Hannity warned on Monday night, after the Senate Minority Leader published an op ed defending those who voted to impeach Donald Trump.
McConnell, 78, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Monday that he bore no ill will to the seven Republican senators who voted to impeach.
McConnell spelt out his reasons for voting to acquit – arguing that he felt the Constitution did not allow for impeaching a president who has already left office.
But, in a careful threading of the needle, he insisted he backed those who voted differently to him.
Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump on Saturday, then savaged him on the Senate floor
Sean Hannity used his Fox News show on Monday night to attack the Senate Minority Leader
‘I don’t begrudge my colleagues their own conclusions,’ he wrote.
‘I respect senators who reached the opposite answer.’
McConnell also reiterated his stinging criticism of Trump, who he is said to personally despise.
McConnell on Saturday, shortly after voting to acquit, accused Trump of ‘a disgraceful dereliction of duty’.
On Monday he wrote: ‘There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone.
‘His behavior during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.’
McConnell is struggling to keep the pro- and anti-Trump factions of his party together
McConnell on Monday wrote an op ed insisting his vote did not vindicate Trump
Hannity, one of the most passionate defenders of the former president, accused McConnell of failing Trump when he was in office, and of failing to effectively attack Democrats for their own feisty rhetoric.
He also singled out John Thune, a South Dakota senator, who like McConnell voted to acquit, then condemned Trump, saying: ‘what former president Trump did to undermine faith in our election system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable.’
Hannity on Monday hit back.
‘Where was John Thune and Mitch McConnell fighting against the biggest abuse of power corruption scandal in our history with Operation Crossfire Hurricane?’ Hannity asked.
‘They were missing in action.
‘Where’s the sanctimonious Mitch McConnell, John Thune, demanding that Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters – when is he going to give a speech on the Senate floor and hold those Democrats accountable for their incitement of insurrection and their insurrection-like language?
‘The time is now coming for new leadership in the U.S. Senate.’
Pat Toomey, Republican senator for Pennsylvania, has been censured by his state party
Bill Cassidy, Republican senator for Louisiana, was censured immediately after his vote
Susan Collins of Maine is also facing calls from her own party to be censured for her vote
Ben Sasse of Nebraska is among the six senators likely to face censure for his vote
Three of the seven senators who voted to impeach – Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – have all been formally censured by their state party for their vote.
Three more – Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska – could also be censured.
Hannity said their vote represents how ‘way out of touch’ they are with the Republican base, pointing to the immediate backlash they now face in their home states.
Mitt Romney of Utah is the only Republican senator who voted to impeach Trump twice