Senator Mitch McConnell ignored Senator Mitt Romney’s advanced warning about the threat of violence on January 6th, 2021, including chatter targeting Romney himself.
Mitt Romney warned McConnell about the upcoming violence on 1/6.
In an excerpt of the upcoming biography by McCay Coppins titled Romney: A Reckoning , it’s revealed that Romney got advanced warning from Angus King about the Pentagon having reports of right-wing extremists planning threats of violence on 1/6 including storming the Capitol, gun smuggling, bombs, and “targeting the traitors in Congress who are responsible for this travesty. Romney’s name has been popping up in some frightening corners of the internet, which is why King needed to talk to him. He isn’t sure Romney will be safe.”
He sent a text to Mitch McConnell, who never responded.
Romney sends his text: “In case you have not heard this, I just got a call from Angus King, who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th. There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require.”
McConnell never responds.
A pause while we appreciate the gravity of the betrayal of the party’s Senate leader not even responding to warnings that came from the Pentagon about a party member’s life being threatened. This is such a profound dereliction of duty both morally and politically, it’s not a surprise Romney doesn’t want to continue as a senator where at best he is isolated and ignored by his own party. At worse, he is not even worthy of a response when violence is threatened against him.
The horror of the attack is worth a read, especially as it’s been revised by Republicans and many in the media as nothing, maybe some tourists who felt strongly about the election and just wanted their votes counted — an odd excuse for people who used violence to try to stop the majority of Americans’ votes from being counted and mattering.
Romney gets an alert on his phone on 1/6: “They’re on the west front, overcame barriers.”
As he pushed open doors at the back of the Senate chamber, he was surprised by the “strange, unsettling quiet had engulfed the deserted corridor….when suddenly he saw a Capitol Police officer sprinting toward him at full speed.”
“Go back in!” the officer boomed without breaking stride. “You’re safer inside the chamber.”
Romney turned around and started to run.
He got back in time to hear the gavel drop and see several men—Secret Service agents, presumably—rush into the chamber without explanation and pull the vice president out. Then, all at once, the room turned over to chaos: A man in a neon sash was bellowing from the middle of the Senate floor about a security breach. Officials were scampering around the room in a panic, slamming doors shut and barking at senators to move farther inside until they could be evacuated.
This information raises many questions, like why did Mitch McConnell ignore Mitt Romney’s warning? Did McConnell pass that warning on to anyone? Why isn’t anyone investigating why there was no help on that day for law enforcement, when so many people in positions of power knew the right was planning a day of terror?
As the Senate chamber was under siege, Romney’s frustration with his party overcame his Cranbrook politeness: “He turned to Josh Hawley, who was huddled with some of his right-wing colleagues, and started to yell. Later, Romney would struggle to recall the exact wording of his rebuke. Sometimes he’d remember shouting “You’re the reason this is happening!” Other times, it would be something more terse: “You did this.” At least one reporter in the chamber would recount seeing the senator throw up his hands in a fit of fury as he roared, “This is what you’ve gotten, guys!” Whatever the words, the sentiment was clear: This violence, this crisis, this assault on democracy—this is your fault.”
If you didn’t have your money on Mitt Romney, infamous flip-flopper, being the spine of American democracy within the Republican Party, you’re not alone. But it’s impossible not to feel the fear and terror that he experienced on that day, under a deadly, violent attack egged on by his own party leader and president and ignored by his Senate leader. It’s even harder not to feel for his family, who were already worried about him, who must have watched this unfolding on their TVs with mounting anxiety and desperation.
Mitch McConnell has exacted serious damage against the trust in government, corrupting the procedural processes of the U.S. Senate for partisan gain, especially since the 2008 era of Republican obstruction.
There has been no accountability for McConnell, either. Perhaps that’s because, as this excerpt points out, he excels at telling people what they want to hear. And while this piece didn’t mention the press, I feel confident adding the media to the list as time and time again, their questions have been answered with a smooth pivot that appears to address the question, while effectively denying the validity of it by gliding away unscathed from any attempts at accountability.
McConnell has undermined norms and procedures that were taken for granted until he came on the scene. He has turned the Senate into a political war zone without shame. He always has a slick answer with a new rule explaining why he is grabbing more power and taking power the voters have given away from his opponents, but the overarching narrative of his career has been of destruction of democracy.
The day he ignored the warnings about 1/6 brings his other failings into sharper view, and raises questions about why there was no help on 1/6 given that even Mitch McConnell and the Pentagon knew about the right-wing plots.