Still, most couldn’t bring themselves to convict him of unleashing the chaos, brutality and darkness that engulfed the Capitol, for fear of potentially offending the Trump supporters the Republicans have come upon. count to win the election, and will need it again in 2022 if they hope to regain the Senate – a primary goal of Mr McConnell.
They offered a myriad of justifications. Like Mr. McConnell, they said it was unconstitutional given that Mr. Trump was no longer president. They said Mr. Trump used the fiery and pugnacious language that all politicians use. The timeline was blurry. Prosecutors were unable to link him explicitly to the start of the riot. Bad precedents would be set. Democrats were acting out of political malice. This was the business of the criminal courts. They said he was not the only one who contributed to the toxic environment.
“He has some responsibility, as a lot of people in this chamber do today,” said Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Democrats said they were stunned that most Republicans would actually give Mr. Trump a pass for provoking the assault, especially since he was targeting the Senate itself.
“It’s shocking,” said Colorado Democrat Senator Michael Bennet.
“As strong as the indictment of Donald Trump, it is also an indictment of Republicans,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “Neither has been convicted in a legal sense, but in a moral and political sense. How they can try to pull away and look the other way is beyond me. “
In his remarks on Saturday, Mr McConnell characterized his delay in recognizing Mr Biden as defending “the president’s right to bring a complaint to our legal system.” The legal system has spoken. But rather than ending his efforts to undermine the election, said Mr McConnell, it “really just opened a new chapter of even wilder, more savage and more unfounded demands.
“The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that dark forces steal our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things,” he said.