Before the mob of President Donald Trump's supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke during a joint session of Congress preparing to count the votes of the Electoral College. The Kentucky Republican made it abundantly clear that he accepted former Vice President Joe Biden as president-elect and had no desire to join the Republicans who announced their plans to contest Biden's Electoral College victory.
In what now seems a prescient warning of the imminent chaos, the leader — who has faced extensive criticism for enabling the president's dangerous tenure — predicted a "death spiral" if the country continued down the Trump path.
McConnell, during his speech on the Senate floor, told members of Congress, "The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. They've all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever."
Biden won 306 electoral votes in November, and he defeated Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote. And McConnell noted, "This election, actually, was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were all closer than this one. The Electoral College margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016."
The Senate majority leader added, "If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost."
McConnell told Congress, "Nothing before us proves illegality of the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt was incited without any evidence. The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role."
McConnell has been an aggressive and forceful partisan as Senate majority leader. But on Wednesday, he told Democrats and fellow Republicans, "Self-government requires a shared commitment to the truth and a shared respect for the ground rules of our system. We cannot continue drifting into two different tribes with two different set of facts and two different realities."