The Kentucky Republican Party has opposed a resolution calling on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to oppose charges against former President Donald Trump.
The lengthy petition shows that the vast majority of the state’s GOP leadership is unwilling to take control of McConnell on the impeachment issue, even though many Republicans are concerned that he will convict the former president.
Over the weekend, members of the Republican State Central Committee held a special session to consider a proposal by several local party leaders calling on McConnell to “stand by President Trump and publicly condemn this divisive and unnecessary second impeachment.”
In a statement, officials from the Kentucky Republican Party said a “small group of individuals” have requested dissolution.
“As a political party, we are in a unique position to bring all sides of our organization together to hold discussions about where we are going and what to expect from our elected officials,” wrote RPK Communications Director Mike Lonergan.
“Ultimately, our intention is to get our focus back on bringing courtesy to the party and having bigger conversations about how we can attract more voters and grow our party.”
The Central Committee of the Republican Party consists of more than 350 people, but a special session can be triggered by a petition of more than 25 people. There were 28 petitioners for this resolution.
The move was ultimately rejected by 134-49, but the vote shows a rift within the Republican Party following Trump’s defeat in last year’s elections and militant resignation from office.
McConnell reprimanded Trump on the penultimate day in the former president’s office, saying the rioters in the US Capitol earlier this month were “provoked by the president and others.”
McConnell’s speech is now the nation’s most elected Republican and has shocked the party as he and other Senate Republicans contemplate whether Trump should be convicted during his Senate impeachment next month.
Kentucky voted 62% for Trump in the 2020 election, and he still has a majority of some Republicans, according to a recent Morning Consult poll.
Don Thrasher, chairman of the Nelson County Republican Party, gathered support ahead of the vote on the resolution calling on McConnell to assist the former president during the process.
He said the state’s top Republicans were afraid to break up with McConnell.
“Mitch McConnell leads the state legislature. He determines what goes in and out, anything and everything, he’ll cut their money off. And that’s why they’re petrified, ”said Thrasher.
“The average taxpaying Republican I know doesn’t like half what Mitch McConnell does. He’s doing it for corporate interests, he’s doing it for a lot of money, and it’s counterproductive to what the average person wants. “
Thrasher said he is now trying to get the local Kentucky Republican parties to blame McConnell.
“If we can reach more than half of the counties, that would be a statement in my opinion. It just tells RPK to push it, ”said Thrasher.
McConnell was negotiating with Democratic leaders over a delayed start of the impeachment trial against Trump, which will begin the week of February 8th. McConnell did not say how he will vote.
It would take 17 Republican senators to join all 50 Democrats to convict the president of inciting a January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.