Mitch McConnell Struggles with Harsh Reality as Trump Gets Closer to the GOP Nomination

Mitch McConnell Struggles with Harsh Reality as Trump Gets Closer to the GOP Nomination

This story has unintentionally comic elements about it.

According to the Associated Press, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced Wednesday that he will step down from his role as Senate leader in November, though he will serve out his Senate term, set to expire in Jan. 2027. That is not the funny part.

In the meantime, according to The Hill, McConnell will face the difficult question of whether to endorse former President Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Therein lay the unintended humor.

Before addressing the amusing aspect of this story, we should examine McConnell’s decisions — both the endorsement question and his choice to step down — in light of his acrimonious relationship with Trump and, more importantly, the Senate leader’s legacy as legislator who appeased the establishment while alienating his party’s base.

One unnamed Senate Republican told The Hill that the harsh reality of Trump’s popularity will make things difficult on McConnell.

“No, I don’t think it would be easy,” the senator said of a possible McConnell endorsement. “But he’s a pragmatist, and at the end, he’d rather have a Republican or Republican policies.”

Indeed, a second unnamed Republican senator also cited McConnell’s pragmatism.

“He’ll look past a load of s*** to improve the path to the majority,” the second senator said. “That’d be the one reason why Mitch would rise above principle and do the politically expedient thing … because he is hellbent on getting the majority, and he’ll make personal sacrifices for that.”

By “personal sacrifices,” the unnamed second senator undoubtedly meant pride. After all, Trump and McConnell have criticized one another since the end of Trump’s presidency.

McConnell, for instance, blamed Trump for the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6, 2021. By the time he sat down for an interview with Tucker Carlson in August, Trump had not forgotten what he regarded as McConnell’s devious efforts to secure enough Republican votes for post-presidency impeachment.

Last Tuesday, in a town hall broadcast on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump sent a clear message that might or might not have contributed to the timing of McConnell’s announcement.

“He’ll probably end up endorsing me. I don’t know that I can work with him,” Trump said.

“He gave away trillions of dollars that he didn’t have to, trillions of dollars. He made it very easy for the Democrats,” the former president added.

During his Wednesday announcement, McConnell indicated that he would step down with “total clarity and peace,” per the AP.

The Senate GOP leader also described himself as “unconflicted” about America’s “irreplaceable role” as “leader of the free world.”

With that in mind, McConnell acknowledged that his view does not square with that of the Republican base.

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time. I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them,” he said.

“That said, I believe more strongly than ever that America’s global leadership is essential to preserving the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan discussed. For as long as I am drawing breath on this earth I will defend American exceptionalism,” he added.

McConnell may try to wrap himself in the cloak of Reagan’s legacy all he wishes. Many Republicans have done the same since 1989. Few have done so honestly.

Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” a phrase he borrowed from the 17th-century Puritan leader John Winthrop, had nothing to do with “global leadership.” In his January 1989 Farewell Address, Reagan explained how he understood that phrase. The outgoing president described an America “God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace.” He said nothing about “global leadership.”

Alas, lesser GOP leaders such as McConnell have hijacked Reagan’s legacy and used it to justify funding endless foreign wars. On Tuesday, for instance, McConnell joined President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in pressuring Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring an appropriations bill to a vote, avert a partial government shutdown and send $60 billion more to Ukraine.

McConnell does deserve credit for keeping now-U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court in 2016. As head of Biden’s Department of Justice, Garland has shown his tyrannical true colors.

On the whole, however, McConnell will leave a legacy of America-last warmongering and the crushing national debt that accompanies it.

With this in mind, I can think of only one analogy to the question of whether McConnell will endorse Trump.

“The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it,” the great Christian writer C.S. Lewis once wrote.

Here Lewis referred to Jesus Christ as the elephant and human beings, trying to decide what to make of Christ, as the fly.

Lest I commit blasphemy, suffice it to say that no one will mistake Trump or anyone for Christ.

Otherwise, the fly-to-elephant analogy holds. And it has comic elements.

For instance, imagine a Republican primary in which McConnell appeared as a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination. Would anyone bet their life savings that the Senate leader would crack even 1 percent in the polls?

McConnell’s power rests on longevity and service to the establishment, not on his appeal to the GOP base.

Thus, let McConnell agonize over whether or not to endorse Trump. That endorsement, should it come, would mean nothing to Trump’s supporters. They have moved on from the old Republican Party, the one to which McConnell and his establishment colleagues still cling.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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