Every Republican for himself: McConnell told senators in closed door meeting to come up with their own Trump defense
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

According to a report at HuffPost, Republican lawmakers, left without guidance by the White House on how to push back at the House impeachment hearings being conducted by the Democratic-led House, are being forced to come up with their own defense of embattled President Donald Trump.

With reports that the White House is the scene of a pitched battle over a which plan to use to fight the Democrats, Senate Republicans are floundering when confronted by the press on how they feel about impeachment hearings that could lead to them to have to vote on whether to force Trump from office.

According to the report, "Republicans have no unified argument in the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, in large part because they can’t agree on how best to defend the president — or for some, if they should."

Noting, "it’s every Republican for himself or herself," the report goes on to add, "The result is a mishmash of GOP commentary spilling from Capitol Hill that may shield lawmakers, for now, from risky political choices, but leaves them with a disjointed defense of Trump as impeachment hearings push into the public realm this coming week."

According to the report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently convened a closed-door meeting, complete with a PowerPoint presentation, to explain how impeachment works, but left it to his GOP colleagues to fashion their own Trump defenses.

"McConnell told Republican senators their best bet was to calibrate their own message about the impeachment inquiry to fit their political situation, according to two people familiar with the private meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door session," HuffPost reports. "But when it came time to broach what Republicans should say about impeachment, McConnell showed a preference for saying as little about it as possible."

According to veteran GOP strategist Alex Conant, the lack of a unified message could prove to be disastrous for a party facing what is expected to be a contentious and high-turnout election in 2020.

“It’s not good. Normally you want to establish the facts, get them out on their own terms, and build a message around that strategy. They’re not doing any of that,” Conant explained. "It’s hard to rally people to your side without a coherent and sustainable message.”

Democratic strategist Jim Manley said Republicans should proceed at their own peril, warning, "Most of these folks have got to know that what the president’s doing is wrong, but they’ve made a cold-hearted, political decision right now it’s best to stick with the president.”

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