McConnell Says Focus Should Be On ‘Safe Inauguration’ Before Biden Takes Office

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Minutes after the House made history and voted to impeach President Trump for the second time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday urged that the Senate’s focus during last week of Trump’s presidency should be on “a safe inauguration” for President-elect Joe Biden, following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol that President Trump incited.

In a statement on Wednesday, McConnell swatted down the idea of a Senate trial happening before Biden’s inauguration next week. McConnell previously signaled that even if the House sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate this week, the Senate isn’t scheduled to return from recess until Tuesday next week — a day before Biden is set to be sworn in.

“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making: it is a fact,” McConnell said.

After citing Biden saying last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the “quickest” path for any change during his presidency, McConnell stressed the focus should turn to “a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power” for the President-elect.

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s post-House impeachment vote statement was issued hours after he wrote in a note to his Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon regarding impeachment that “while the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

McConnell has privately seethed over Trump’s incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week and left five people dead. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) warmed up to the idea of punishing Trump for his actions leading up to the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.

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