Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (KY) differed with Donald Trump’s assertion that the January 6 rioters had been treated unfairly. Trump said that he was all for shorter sentences for the Capitol rioters. But McConnell said he was opposed to shorter sentences.
The announcement by Trump that he would seek pardon for them should he assume office in the next Presidential election means that Republican officials at multiple levels of government will soon face the question of whether they agreed with the assertion.
One of Trump’s regular champions, Senator Lindsey Graham found Trump’s idea inappropriate, in what could be termed a vigorous condemnation of the idea. Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire Governor, was blunt in rejecting the idea of pardoning the rioters.
Mitch McConnell Treads Softly In Rejecting Trump’s Pardon Proposal For Rioters
Trump had been quite odd and unpredictable. His proposal initially centered on the premise that conditions for the rioters were unpleasant in jail and the detention was politically motivated.
While acknowledging that Trump lost and criticism those who rioted in the Capitol on that fateful day, Mitch McConnell deviated into the technical realm. He asserted that he would not favor lessening the sentences of those who have pleaded guilty to crimes. Of the 165 people on trial for criminal behavior, 145 of the pleas were for misdemeanors, while 20 pleaded guilty, with only 6 admitting to assaulting law enforcement officers.
It is obvious that Mitch McConnell has chosen to speak about only those who have pleaded guilty, but has conveniently chosen not to directly criticize Trump’s position, that the detentions are an unfair treatment that deserves the total liberation of the charged.
It will be difficult for Mitch McConnell to directly echo Trump, partly because he is aware that a majority of the rioters stand accused of appalling crimes like an assault on law enforcement officials.
But McConnell has also not directly rejected Trump’s suggestion that the detainees should be excused totally, indicating that he agreed with him.