In the aftermath of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to endorse the Republican National Committee’s declaration last week that the January 6 coup attempt was “legitimate political discourse,” and his characterization on Tuesday of the failed putsch as a “violent insurrection,” former president Donald Trump and his fascist allies have gone on the offensive against the arch-conservative senator from Kentucky.
In a statement released on Wednesday through his Save America PAC, Trump wrote: “Mitch McConnell does not speak for the Republican Party, and does not represent the view of the vast majority of its voters.”
Repeating the lie, embraced by a majority of the Republican Party, that the 2020 election was rigged and the Biden government is therefore illegitimate, Trump wrote that McConnell “did nothing to fight for his constituents and stop the most fraudulent election in American history.”
As a matter of fact, McConnell, following Biden’s clear victory in November 2020, endorsed Trump’s efforts to have the election results thrown out in court on baseless claims that the election was corrupt. In a speech delivered from the Senate floor the Monday after Biden was declared the winner, McConnell, promoting Trump’s fascist conspiracy theories, said that Trump was “100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
McConnell added that “a few legal inquires” from Trump “do not exactly spell the end of the republic.” He said that Trump, despite producing no evidence then, or since, of fraudulent activity in the 2020 election, should not “immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results.”
Giving Trump and his anti-democratic allies in and outside of the Republican Party ample time to manufacture a pretext for discarding the votes of some 81 million people, McConnell himself refused to recognize Biden as the president-elect until December 15, one day after the Electoral College vote, which affirmed Biden’s win, and three days after the Supreme Court refused to hear a Republican lawsuit to have the results overturned.
In his Wednesday statement, Trump went on to defend his fascist foot soldiers who stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to kidnap/kill lawmakers. Signifying the party’s embrace of violence as legitimate, he attacked McConnell for doing “nothing to stop the lawless Biden Administration” from “the persecution of political opponents.”
Joining Trump in lashing out at McConnell was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of seven Republicans in the Senate who voted to overturn the results of the election after far-right militia members, QAnon fascists and white supremacists stormed and occupied the Capitol. On Wednesday, CBS News correspondent Scott MacFarlane reported that Cruz said it was a “serious mistake” by the Senate Republican leadership to label January 6 a “violent insurrection.”
Also defending Trump’s coup was Florida senator, and potential 2024 presidential candidate, Marco Rubio. Claiming there was no real danger of a dictatorial government coming to power on January 6, Rubio claimed: “There is no way they were going to overthrow the government of the United States. It’s just not, it wasn’t going to happen.”
Essentially arguing that because the coup did not succeed, it did not happen, Rubio said: “I think it’s important to characterize this as it was. It was a riot. It was a dangerous riot. It was a violent one…. But I don’t think, people should not be misled to think, that this somehow was on the verge of overthrowing the government or preventing the certification.”
While Rubio was downplaying the severity of the coup, on Wednesday’s edition of the fascistic War Room Pandemic podcast, hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, admirer of Adolf Hitler and North Carolina congressman Madison Cawthorn welcomed a “civil war” within the Republican Party.
“Is there a civil war, and what are we going to do with these kind of establishment leaders like Mitch McConnell that continue to mock MAGA and cross purposes with President Trump?” Bannon asked his guest, who, on the day of the failed putsch, told Trump supporters in Washington D.C. that it was “time to fight.”
After saying that there was “unity” in the Republican House for Trump’s coup, Cawthorn threatened that “on the Senate side, I genuinely do believe there needs to be intraparty conflict.”
Cawthorn added: “A lot of people don’t want to say this and it’s going to get me into trouble with leadership, but I really don’t care about that, there does need to be some form of conflict within the Republican Party because we need to get rid of these establishment go-along to get-along Republicans.”
Cawthorn himself is facing a challenge calling for him to be disqualified for the November midterm elections by the North Carolina Board of Elections. This is based on an “insurrection” clause that was added to the US Constitution following the Civil War. On Monday, the Board argued in court against a lawsuit filed by Cawthorn seeking to shut down the challenge. The board said it does have the power to block Cawthorn from running for reelection because of the role he played in the failed coup.
“States have long enforced age and residency requirements, without question and with very few if any legal challenges,” the board wrote. “The State has the same authority to police which candidates should or should not be disqualified per Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
While the case is still pending in court, Cawthorn warned, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, on Bannon’s podcast: “This is only going to lead to one place if you want to try and take the right of the people away to be able to vote for their elected official. This is going down a very dangerous path.”
As the Republican Party, and with it, large sections of the ruling class, embrace extra-parliamentary methods amid the historic crisis of the capitalist system and growing working class resistance to unending mass death and impoverishment, the Democratic Party continues to extend an olive branch to its “Republican colleagues.”
In her weekly press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, less than a week after the RNC’s resolution, once again declared her desire for a “strong Republican Party.”
“The country needs a strong Republican Party,” said Pelosi “They have made great contributions to our country. I say this to Republicans all the time. Take back your party from this cult. Take back your party. America needs a strong Republican Party.”
The Democrats grovel for “unity” with their far-right “colleagues” because, in the final analysis, they fear mass social and political opposition from below against the capitalist system more than they fear violence from their fascist opponents. The Socialist Equality Party fights for the political independence of the working class from both big business parties and the capitalist system they defend.