On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke to a Republican National Committee event at Mar-a-Lago. From reports by some in attendance, it looks like the former president, in true Trumpian fashion, aired grievances and bitterly attacked former allies.
Most notably, Trump went after Mitch McConnell. Reportedly, he called the Minority Leader a “dumb son of a bitch” and claimed that Chuck Schumer would never have allowed the 2020 presidential results to be certified. Trump also claimed, again according to accounts, that he won the Kentucky Senate race for McConnell.
Such a claim would be absurd. McConnell crushed his opponent by nearly 20 percentage points in 2020. Kentucky has elected him to the Senate seven times.
We don’t know for sure what Chuck Schumer would have done regarding certification of the 2020 election had the shoe been on the other foot. We know that Schumer did not try to prevent Trump from being the certified winner in 2016 in a race that was about as close as the 2020 contest.
Presumably, Schumer didn’t try to block Trump for the same reason that McConnell didn’t try to block Biden. Neither believed that the results to be certified were invalid, and neither wanted a constitutional crisis or a pitched battle over presidential succession. In my view, Trump has never presented evidence that should have persuaded McConnell that Trump was the proper winner of the 2020 campaign.
We also know that Al Gore didn’t press Democrats not to certify the results of the 2000 election, even though he probably had a better claim than Trump of having obtained the votes needed to win. I don’t consider Gore’s decision dumb, I consider it patriotic.
My favorite line from Trump’s speech, as reported, is this statement about Republicans who voted to impeach him:
We can’t have these guys that like publicity.
If we can’t have politicians who like publicity, we’ll have to fire virtually the entire political class. If we can’t have ones who obsessively crave publicity, Trump will have to be among the first disqualified.
Republicans can talk all they want about divisions in the Democratic party, and they should. However, Trump’s speech reminds us that it’s Democrats who are likely to be passing the most popcorn in the coming years.