Why Mitch McConnell’s silence during Trump's arraignment speaks volumes: report

Why Mitch McConnell’s silence during Trump's arraignment speaks volumes: report

The events of Tuesday, April 4, 2023 were unprecedented in United States history. A former U.S. president, indicted by a grand jury, was arrested, booked and arraigned in Manhattan and pleaded "not guilty" to 34 criminal counts. As former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks has commented more than once, President Richard Nixon's legal problems during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s pale in comparison to the legal exposure that Trump is facing in 2023.

A long list of Republicans, from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), have responded to Trump's indictment by railing against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr. and claiming that the former president is a victim of political persecution. But one prominent Republican who kept quiet about Trump's arraignment on April 4 was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). And that silence, according to The Hill's Alexander Bolton, speaks volumes.

In an article published on April 5, Bolton reports, "McConnell, who hasn't spoken to Trump since December of 2020, didn't make any statement in response to the former president's arrest Tuesday. He didn't say anything when news of Trump's indictment broke Thursday, (March 30) either. Instead, he put out a statement welcoming Finland's accession to NATO — something he has championed since last year."

READ MORE:'He cheats, he conspires': Conservative details the many 'lies' Trump told in post-arraignment speech

There has been considerable bad blood between Trump and McConnell during the Joe Biden era. But while Trump often attacks McConnell and calls for Republicans to find a new leader in the U.S. Senate, McConnell avoids talking about the former president.

Al Cross, a journalism professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, told The Hill, "Mitch McConnell does not feel pressure in the same way that other human beings do. He has steeled himself to resist the typical politician's urge to talk, and it's paid off for him. You don't get in trouble for something you didn't say. His strategy with Trump has been to not come close to that kryptonite and let other people do the talking and work behind the scenes."

Trump’s legal problems don't end with Bragg's case, which involves alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump is also facing two criminal investigations from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and special counsel Jack Smith and a criminal probe from Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis.

Cross told The Hill, "There will be other shoes to drop, and I expect Mitch McConnell knows more about Donald Trump's situation than we do. He is one of the most influential and best-informed people in the country and has all kinds of sources of information, and he probably sees other things coming."

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GOP strategist Scott Jennings predicts that whatever happens with Trump legally, McConnell will continue to avoid publicly talking about him.

Jennings told The Hill, "He's sort of not mentioned Trump at all since December of 2020. He’s pretty much taken an I'm-going-to-ignore-this-guy approach. So, I think this is just a continuation of that. All of this circus today reinforces a larger dynamic — the American people want anything but a Trump/Biden rematch in ’24."

READ MORE:Alvin Bragg smacks down Jim Jordan: No 'legitimate basis for congressional inquiry'

Read The Hill’s full report at this link.

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