Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) blamed President Trump and other “powerful people” for provoking the mob attack on the Capitol on January 6, in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 19, 2021
“The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals, who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty,” McConnell said. “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government that they did not like.”
However, McConnell continued, “We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation. Not even for one night.”
Trump and a number of political allies have claimed that Democrats “stole” the election by means of widespread voter fraud. While Congress was certifying the results of the Electoral College votes on January 6, Trump incited a mob of his supporters to head to the Capitol, after which the mob breached the building and forced lawmakers to evacuate. Rioters injured dozens of Capitol police officers, including one who later died of his injuries, and one rioter was shot and killed by police.
McConnell condemned “institutional failures” that left Congress “exposed” to the mob attack, but praised Capitol police for their defense of the building and of lawmakers.
“Today I want to reaffirm the huge respect and gratitude that I have—and I believe all Senators have—for the men and women of the USCP who put their own safety on the line every single day that they clock in and stand guard,” McConnell said.
In response to the attack, the House voted to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” with ten Republicans joining Democrats to support impeachment. McConnell is reportedly pleased with Democrats’ impeachment effort, though he said last week that he has not determined whether he will vote to convict.
Democrats need the support of 17 Republican senators in order to convict Trump following an impeachment trial. If a conviction is achieved, the Senate can bar Trump from running for office again with a simple majority vote.