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Trump Smears Don’t Diminish McConnell


Donald Trump presumably liked it when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit him because the senator believes impeachment of a former president is unconstitutional. But Mr. Trump had a very different reaction to Mr. McConnell’s floor speech Saturday, when he rightly said the former president was “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and for failing to denounce the violence while it was under way.

On Tuesday afternoon Mr. Trump attacked Mr. McConnell at length, insulting him as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” who lacked “political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality” and “doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.” That was reportedly the toned-down version.

Mr. Trump’s aides may high-five each other over their rhetorical excesses, but they’ll never convince Mr. McConnell’s Democratic adversaries or Republican senatorial admirers that Mr. Trump’s slurs are accurate. (Though some might concede Mr. McConnell is something less than a sparkling conversationalist at dinner parties.)

Since the Senate’s first meeting in March 1789, only a handful of leaders have demonstrated a mastery of the upper chamber that matches the bespectacled Kentuckian’s. His achievements are legion, including skillfully maneuvering Mr. Trump’s legislative accomplishments and judicial appointments through the Senate.

The former president also said Mr. McConnell lacked “credibility on China because of his family’s Chinese business holdings.” This smear was aimed at Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, whose Taiwanese-American family runs a shipping company active in the Pacific. Neither Ms. Chao nor Mr. McConnell owns stock in the New York-based business and, it’s worth noting, Mr. Trump wasn’t concerned about all this when he made Ms. Chao his transportation secretary.

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