An excerpt from a new book by political journalist David Drucker has just given us a bit more insight into why disgraced former President Donald Trump hates Mitch McConnell’s guts, while also giving us a bit of a surprise when it comes to McConnell’s gumption against the former guy.
According to the book, the Kentucky Senator worked in tandem with Arkansas GOP Senator Tom Cotton, plotting behind Donald Trump’s back to derail his numerous 2020 election lies and throw a wrench in the now ex-president’s attempts to rally Republican senators to refuse to certify the Electoral College votes on January 6th.
In his book, In Trump’s Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP, Drucker notes that Cotton, with one eye on the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, saw the impending chaos coming from a mile away in the wake of Donald’s election loss to Joe Biden. Given the writing on the wall, Cotton apparently conspired with Senate Majority (now Minority) Leader Mitch McConnell to construct a plan that would allow their Republican colleagues to refuse Trump’s impending demands that they overthrow the results of the election and refuse to certify the official results.
“From the inception of Trump the politician, Cotton exhibited an understanding of the future president’s psychological peculiarities, and an intuitive grasp of the fervor he inspired among his MAGA fan base. For Trump, all politics was, and still is, intensely personal,” Drucker’s book reads, adding that Cotton was well aware he would have to walk the very thin line that consisted of staying on Donald’s good side while simultaneously being hyper-aware of his ever-worsening instability on the heels of his loss.
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Drucker notes that both Senators Cotton and McConnell were well aware that Donald Trump would not only be refusing to accept the results of the election but that he would do everything he could to overturn the results of the official Electoral College vote.
“To say that Cotton was not swayed by Trump’s theory of the case is an understatement. But as is his habit, he wanted to be thorough,” Drucker’s reporting on the matter reads. “In early December, Cotton directed legislative aides on his Senate staff to research the matter extensively and prepare an exhaustive memorandum. As the senator suspected, it made plain that the Constitution had not, in fact, built in a secret back door for Congress or the vice president to invalidate presidential election results. In mid-December, after the states had certiﬁed their results and the Electoral College had voted, Cotton read in McConnell. Together, they plotted to countermand Trump’s bid to overturn the election and neutralize interest in objecting to Biden’s victory that was developing in some quarters of the Republican conference.”
Senator Cotton apparently planned to publish an op-ed in an Arkansas newspaper on the morning of January 6th, which would have completely blown apart Donald’s case for election fraud and a legitimate reason to refuse to certify the results. However, his plan was ultimately dismantled when Republican Senator Josh Hawley made quite the spectacle when he publicly announced that he planned to fight tooth and nail to block the Electoral College certification.
“Cotton’s strategy was derailed,” Drucker wrote. “After some discussion, McConnell urged Cotton to speed up his timeline for announcing his opposition. The majority leader had been aggressively whipping the issue. But he believed that Cotton, with his conservative bona ﬁdes and reputation as a Trump loyalist, might be more effective at talking teetering Senate Republicans off the ledge by providing cover to those who privately wanted to stand behind the certiﬁcation of Biden’s victory but feared the consequences back home.”
“Three days later, the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, perpetrated by Trump supporters, ended up changing a few minds. Rather than a dozen Republican objectors, just six voted to throw out Biden’s win in Arizona, with the same six, plus a seventh, voting to excise his victory in Pennsylvania,” the journalist turned author goes on to explain. “While Republicans in the House were unmoved by the insurrection and continued with attempts to force a debate over the results, Republicans in the Senate declined to join them in that effort, save for Hawley. He insisted on following through with plans to object to the tally in Pennsylvania, even after the Capitol was ransacked and members of Congress, and Pence, were sent ﬂeeing for their lives.”
“Two senior members of McConnell’s leadership team, Thune and Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, emphasized that the whole thing would have gotten completely out of hand if not for the stand taken by Cotton,” Drucker reports, with Thune allegedly saying, “Tom played a very important role, especially as people were starting to waver. He took a risk coming out Sunday rather than waiting quietly until Wednesday; he knew it wouldn’t be popular with the base.”
You can read the full report on the subject from Vanity Fair here.
Featured image via screen capture