Shortly after he joined a majority of Senate Republicans in voting to acquit Donald Trump on a single article of impeachment, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered a fiery speech excoriating the former president.
In a subsequent statement, however, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) made it clear that the top-ranking Republican stands mostly alone in his beliefs.
“A scathing speech on the floor of the Senate”
According to Breitbart, Johnson made his revelation during an appearance on The Jay Weber Show, a talk-radio program airing on WISN.
Of course, McConnell has also received pushback from others in his caucus after his pointed criticism of Trump over the weekend linking the ex-president to the deadly riots on Capitol Hill last month.
For his part, Johnson drove home the point to listeners, saying: “You got Leader McConnell voting not guilty, not to convict, but then just providing a scathing speech on the floor of the Senate that does not reflect, I think, the majority of our conference.”
The senator went on to admit that he has not been keeping an exact count of how Republicans feel on the issue, he suggested that common sense indicates that McConnell is clearly in the GOP minority.
Johnson further clarified that the party leader has a right to voice whatever position he chooses, but pointed out that what McConnell says reverberates much further.
“We have to unite our party”
“He has to realize as our leader, what he says reflects on us,” Johnson said. “I didn’t particularly like it.”
As his party attempts to reclaim a majority in Congress during next year’s midterm elections, political posturing is sure to take on added significance in the coming months.
According to Johnson, that means it is increasingly important for Republicans — especially those as powerful as McConnell — to avoid causing a deeper rift within an already fractured party. Instead, he urged his own party’s members to focus on winning back as many GOP seats as possible.
“We can’t afford to lose in 2022,” Johnson said. “We have to unite our party, our movement. And there is certainly elements of the Republican Party that never liked Trump and really thinks this is a great opportunity to purge the party of Trump.”
As USA Today reported, Johnson is not alone in criticizing McConnell. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for example, complained that the GOP leader “got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans.