Levin Report

After Thoroughly F**king Over America, Mitch McConnell Decides to Treat Himself to a Break

Never forget: McConnell could have rid us of Donald Trump, but simply chose not to.
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Mitch McConnell announced on Wednesday that he will step down as the GOP’s Senate leader after next November’s elections. At 82, the guy is still alive and kicking, and come November, he’ll still have more than two years left on his current term in office. In other words, we’re not rid of him just yet. But it feels appropriate at this time to talk about legacy and what people will remember about the man when he’s gone, from both DC and the world. So, to be clear: If you remember one thing about Mitch McConnell, it should be that the Kentucky lawmaker, who famously has no principles,* could have rid us of the bubonic plague that is Donald Trump—and simply chose not to.

Cast your minds back to February 2021. A month prior, the president of the United States had incited a literal insurrection in an attempt to stay in power. Shortly thereafter, he was impeached, which was followed by a Senate trial. On the day the votes were cast, McConnell said the following: “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”

Those words would have been incredibly powerful if not for one thing: Moments before uttering them, McConnell voted to acquit Trump, because he is a shameless hack. As a reminder, had Trump been convicted by the Senate—which, yes, would’ve required more people than just McConnell to vote differently—the 45th president would have been barred from ever running from office again, and we wouldn’t currently be grappling with the very real chance of him winning reelection this fall.

But hey, you might be thinking, My memory is sharp and I’d like to recall more than one thing about the majority leader when he’s gone. In that case, might we recommend McConnell’s handiwork in shaping the Supreme Court? Specifically the wheels he set into motion that led to Roe v. Wade being overturned?

As Politico noted in 2022 after nearly 50 years of precedent was gutted, “there’s a direct line from the Senate minority leader’s decision to hold a high court vacancy open in 2016 to the potential demise of Roe six years later.” If you can’t remember that far back, or had to bury it in the deepest recesses of your mind so as to not spend all your waking hours screaming, a quick refresher: After conservative justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, Barack Obama had the opportunity, because he was president, to nominate a justice to fill Scalia’s seat. Yet, before the 44th POTUS even mentioned the words Merrick Garland, McConnell was already pledging to block any and all nominees. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell insisted at the time. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” That argument was obviously absurd given that the American people had already had a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice, and they had it when they voted for Obama—who still had almost an entire calendar year left in office.

But in the grand tradition of Republicans just making shit up when it suits them, McConnell held fast to what he would later claim was a historical precedent going back hundreds of years—wherein “no Senate ha[d] confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year”—and refused to even hold a confirmation hearing for the guy who would ultimately become Obama’s pick to succeed Scalia. Which allowed Republicans to effectively steal a Supreme Court seat that should have gone to a liberal. Then, roughly four years later, McConnell was more than happy for Amy Coney Barrett to be confirmed and sworn in with less than two months before the 2020 election, despite his previous “election year” rule. Barrett’s ascension to the court, and its 6-3 conservative-liberal makeup would, by design, lead to the decimation of abortion rights.

Speaking of the current Supreme Court, which McConnell had an outsize hand in shaping: On Wednesday, it said that it will take up Trump’s claims of immunity at the end of April. Which is very good for the ex-president and very, very bad for the fate of democracy.

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Thanks, Mitch!

*For a 2020 New Yorker profile of McConnell, reporter Jane Mayer spent months searching “for the larger principles or sense of purpose that animates” the guy. “Finally,” she wrote, “someone who knows him very well told me, ‘Give up. You can look and look for something more in him, but it isn’t there. I wish I could tell you that there is some secret thing that he really believes in, but he doesn’t’.”

Fox News host will not stop reminding viewers that Republicans have nothing on Joe Biden

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President ba dum bum

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