As a wintry storm ravages Texas, another storm, and one just as cold, is raging within the increasingly fractious Republican Party. As Mitch McConnell tries to play to both aisles within his own party by siding with his Republican brethren and acquitting Trump in the recent impeachment trial for inciting the Jan. 6 riot that invaded the Senate chamber in order to play to his supporters in the party and the wider ‘Trump base’ public.
He would then, almost instantaneously, stand up and declare his former commander and chief was guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6. The Kentucky Republican and minority leader then doubled down on that statement with, “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,”
And to no one’s surprise, that not only didn’t play well in the majority of Americans eyes, Republicans and Democrats, but Trump himself quickly had daggers flying from his own. Although former President Trump has been uncharacteristically silent since the Capitol insurrection, he could not stay silent while one he believes should be a vassal and swear fealty to the now king of the Republican Party, openly criticized him.
Coming three days after the Senate acquitted him in his second impeachment trial, the 600-word statement would throw a grenade into the fissure opening up within the heart of the Grand Old Party. In an attempt to have Republicans oust the history-making eight time elected Senate Republican leader, Trump labeled him as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”.
Trump being Trump, would go further still by questioning the 78 year old politician veterans political abilities and acumen, saying “The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Mr. Trump said. “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from majority leader to minority leader, and it will only get worse.”
It should be noted that in this lengthy and vitriolic statement, Trump never once acknowledges his role during the violent hours in which his own Vice President and members of Congress were under threat from the mob of Trump supporters. Nor does he show any contrition for the statements he made prior to the events on Jan. 6th which left five people dead, and more than 140 injured.
Mr. McConnell’s office declined to comment on the remarks made by Mr. Trump, one that also attacked his Asian-American wife, Elaine Chao, and their connections to China. But he has not hidden his disdain for the conduct of the former President or the direction he is taking the party towards.
This separation of the state and fate of the GOP isn’t just being played out between McConnell and Trump. Although the gulf between the left and right of our politics has been growing ever larger in the last few decades with a more ‘liberal’ left and a more ‘hardcore’ right, the battle lines within the GOP itself are being deeply carved into the sand.
Enter stage right, new Republican members of Congress Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. The extremely right-wing, gun toting, conspiracy theory peddlers, that are the young blood of this new Trump loving faction. If their rhetoric is anything to go by, the spilling of blood might not be such a bad thing. And with this blood could come the birth of a third political party in American politics.
With talk of the 2024 race already on the red lips of many, the idea has been floated of a new party, perhaps dubbed the “Patriot Party” or “MAGA Party”, with Trump at its helm. Such a split could put American democracy in jeopardy as the blood stained roots that would sprout from Trumpism and the perpetuating of the election fraud myth, could see the country burn and they appear content to rule the ashes.
It’s difficult to say if any of this will actually happen due to the inherent unpredictability of Trump and his acolytes as many more Republicans than Taylor Greene and Boebert have chosen the Trump hill to politically die on. However, there is growing resentment towards certain political classes and a brewing unrest in the American electorate, so unfortunately this particular question shall remain unanswered, for now.