In a sharply observed piece for the New York Times, longtime columnist Gail Collins points out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the de facto president of the United States -- which would probably come as a surprise to Donald Trump -- and he has no incentive to see Trump ousted and his own power diminished.
Delving into the motivation of the Kentucky Republican who has been working hand-in-hand with the White House to formulate how to make the impeachment trial either go away or be rushed through the GOP-controlled Senate, Collins suggests McConnell would rather see Trump in the Oval Office than Vice President Mike Pence.
Pointing out that, "Dark, suspicious minds wondered if the president had started the whole Iran crisis to get Americans to stop thinking about the impeachment story," Collins said, "If Trump thought there was any chance of actually getting kicked out of office, God knows what he’d do."
"Fortunately for him — if not for us — Mitch McConnell is running everything. The House impeachment vote is, of course, a done deal. The bill is going to reach the Senate sometime soon, and the majority leader has been dropping tiny hints that he’s leaning toward giving Trump a pass," she added.
Collins points out that there is little likelihood that McConnell will see four Republicans senators side with the Democrats to change the terms of the trial -- including calling witnesses -- even though more than handfull would rather see a less volatile and far more knowledgeable Pence become president.
At issue is the fact that detail-disregarding Trump has been more than willing to let McConnell do as he pleases; something President Mike Pence might not allow.
"Some of the Republicans might think wistfully that Mike Pence — even Mike Pence — would be a big improvement over the guy we’ve got now. For the country, maybe, but not for Mitch McConnell. Trump is the perfect president for Mitch. For the past three years, the senator from Kentucky has basically been running the government. Somebody has to do it, and the administration’s people are barely capable of opening their office doors," Collins wrote. "Trump’s two big victories as president have been the tax cut — organized and pushed through to law by Mitch McConnell — and a raft of new conservative federal judges. Listen to the president and you’d think he had the opportunity to name them all because Barack Obama just forgot — or was too lazy — to fill any openings. (“He gave me 142!”)."
Pointing out that McConnell is using his power to sit on almost 80 percent of the bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House, Collins suggests, "the country’s been Mitchified."
"This is incredible power for a politician who’s never been elected to national office and isn’t even popular in his home state — one recent poll put him at the very bottom of the Senate, with a 37 percent positive voter rating in Kentucky," she wrote.
As Collins sees it, this should be something that should infuriate Trump -- if only he recognized how McConnell has usurped his power.
"It’s really the McConnell era, and we ought to be discussing that every day, particularly whenever Donald Trump is within earshot," she puckishly suggested. "There’s only so much the media can do to make this situation clear. We have certain journalistic rules against beginning news stories with, 'Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who actually runs the country, expressed support for his minion, Donald Trump. …'"
"But nobody’s stopping you. Tweet away. It’ll drive the president crazy," she concluded.
You can read more here.