Far from elucidating his place, Mr. McConnell has adopted a sphinx-like silence in public. As late as Tuesday morning, in line with Republicans briefed on the conversations, his personal aides had been unsure how he deliberate to vote on Mr. Paul’s movement. He has declined to elucidate his vote, telling reporters on Wednesday that as a juror within the coming continuing, he deliberate to maintain an open thoughts.
“Well, the trial hasn’t started yet,” he stated. “And I intend to participate in that and listen to the evidence.”
His advisers declined to take a position on his pondering.
Mr. McConnell stays keen to maneuver past Mr. Trump. While his House counterpart, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, was set to satisfy Mr. Trump on Thursday in an effort to restore his relationship with the previous president, the Senate chief gladly instructed reporters he had not spoken to Mr. Trump since Dec. 15, after Mr. McConnell congratulated Mr. Biden because the president-elect. He has instructed allies he hopes by no means to speak to Mr. Trump once more.
Yet his public silence has left even among the most loyal members of his convention flummoxed.
Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who stated final week that Mr. McConnell had instructed him to vote his conscience on issues of impeachment, ticked by means of a collection of potential explanations for the chief’s vote on Wednesday.
“Maybe this is one of those votes that you can be a reflection of your conference, and clearly he does that a lot,” he stated of Mr. McConnell. “Our conference was pretty overwhelming in its support.”
The vote clearly bewildered some Democrats, a few of whom questioned whether or not it was even definitely worth the effort — or the prices to Mr. Biden — to spend time on an impeachment trial destined as soon as once more for acquittal. Senators Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, floated a bipartisan censure of Mr. Trump in lieu of a trial, setting off a flurry of debate over the subject.
“To do a trial knowing you’ll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time,” Mr. Kaine lamented.