Republican officials in Kentucky overwhelmingly rejected a resolution on Saturday calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to stand with former President Donald Trump in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
The Republican Party of Kentucky’s State Central Committee voted 134-49 against the resolution, deeming it out of order, a member told The Louisville Courier Journal. There are over 350 members on the committee, which consists of chairs and vice-chairs for the dozens of counties in Kentucky, as well as GOP elected officials, but not all were present.
In a statement following the vote, the party said it was in the “unique position” to bring together “all sides of our organization” and discuss the direction of the party and expectations of elected officials. “In the end it is our intention to return our focus to bringing civility to the party and continue having larger conversations about how we can attract more voters and grow our party,” read the party’s statement to the news agency.
Trump will face a Senate trial in the second week of February for incitement of insurrection in connection with the riot at the Capitol building on January 6. Ten GOP lawmakers voted to impeach him, and many GOP senators, including McConnell, have said they haven’t decided how they will vote, according to a Washington Post tracker.
In a recent speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the last time the Senate convened, lawmakers “had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty.” He also said the mob had been “fed lies,” and accused then-President Donald Trump and other “powerful people” of provoking them.
“They tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like,” said McConnell.
McConnell’s speech was quickly repudiated by members of the Kentucky Republican Party, including Nelson County GOP Chair Don Thrasher, who successfully held an emergency vote to censure him, according to News Center Maine. Thrasher also proposed the unsuccessful resolution to get the Republican Party of Kentucky’s State Central Committee to stand with Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial and claimed he had at least 50 other chairs and vice chairs who were willing to sign onto the resolution.
“This has shown his true colors,” said Thrasher. “We felt today during his floor speech on the senate where he impugned the character of President Trump was unacceptable to us. [H]is whole behavior overall through this whole process of the last week is not consistent with what he promised us when he was running for re-election.”
After the Saturday resolution failed, Thrasher told The Lexington Herald-Leader he couldn’t comment on the meeting, but accused officials of not having “a grip on the average taxpaying Republican voter in this state.”
The impeachment trial will begin the week of February 8, following negotiations between McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to delay the trial in order to give the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal defense more time to prepare, given the speed of the process.
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