The changed relationship between former President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell is an excellent example of why so many people are skeptical of anything that any elected official from either party says.
The two men, despite obvious differences in personality and style, seemed to work together fairly well when Trump was in office. It was a mutually beneficial relationship.
McConnell, as Senate majority leader, saw to it that Trump’s three conservative Supreme Court nominations got approved — using the rules of the game to the Republicans’ advantage on two of them. McConnell also got a bunch of judges onto lower courts and played a key role in getting Trump’s tax cuts approved.
All that is gone now. Trump lost last year’s election to Joe Biden, and the Republicans lost the majority in the Senate when Democrats won both Georgia runoffs. And the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol while Congress was formally approving the Electoral College results apparently was the last straw for McConnell.
After the Senate acquitted Trump last weekend in his second impeachment trial, McConnell publicly castigated the former president despite having voted to acquit. He said Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for inciting the Capitol attack, and implied that the GOP needs to turn away from Trump’s populist brand of politics to regain power in Washington.
Trump, predictably, fired back this week with his typical personal attack. He criticized McConnell’s “lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality,” said he is a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack,” and added that if Republicans stick with politicians such as McConnell, the party will never win elections.
To recap: McConnell found Trump tolerable when they were able to reach shared goals together, but now has no use for him or his politics because of Jan. 6. And Trump found McConnell tolerable as a legislative ally until he left office and the senator criticized him publicly.
Each man had to work with the other because that’s who voters chose for the jobs. But mostly, the story sounds like these two guys never trusted each other and just pretended to get along. Each said nice things about the other for a while. Now it all sounds fake.
Another example of this on the Democratic side is the news about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which intentionally withheld accurate information about the number of nursing home deaths in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo won wide praise last year for his handling of the pandemic. Even though New York was one of the hardest-hit states in the country, he seemed to be making the best of an impossible situation. Now we find out that, purportedly because of concerns about an investigation by Trump’s Department of Justice, his administration simply wasn’t being honest.
So many politicians never mean what they say. Is it any wonder that so many Americans have learned not to trust them?