Mitch McConnell does it again

Why Trump's inevitable acquittal will be the Senate majority leader's greatest victory

Mitch McConnell.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images, vitalik19111992/iStock)

With all apologies to the president, who I'm sure is going to enjoy his festival of innocence very much over the coming days and weeks, the person who deserves the most credit for the acquittal that is now a foregone conclusion in the Senate impeachment trial is not Donald Trump himself but Mitch McConnell.

I say this not because I expected Trump to be removed from office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. That was never in the cards. But I don't think that anyone expected this process to go the way it has, which is to say, from the perspective of the GOP Senate majority leader, more or less perfectly. With the exception of Susan Collins's meaningless vote in favor of calling witnesses (which will do her no favors this fall with liberals in her home state), there have been no significant GOP defections. Even Lisa Murkowski, who even on Friday was considered likely to vote against her party, has dismissed impeachment as "partisan" and something that has "degraded" Congress. Moderate Republicans and conservatives who have been occasional — and sometimes more than occasional — critics of the president were in lockstep here: Mitt Romney, the only other vote for witnesses, did not make much of a fuss throughout the Senate phase of the proceedings, nor did Ben Sasse. Even Lamar Alexander, who is retiring and has absolutely nothing to lose, took one for the team.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.