President Donald Trump talks to the press as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looks on at the US Capitol on January 9, 2019, in Washington.
CNN  — 

On February 13, 2021, Mitch McConnell said this on the floor of the Senate about Donald Trump’s actions on January 6: “Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

And this: “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”

And even this about the rioters: “They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth – because he was angry he’d lost an election.”

McConnell’s speech was widely regarded as an attempt by the Senate Republican leader to make a clean break from Trump and move the party forward without him. McConnell seemed done with Trump – even though he voted to acquit the former President in the Senate impeachment trial – and he wanted every Republican to know it and follow his lead.

All of which makes what McConnell said less than two weeks later seem, well, odd? McConnell said on Fox at the time that he would “absolutely” support Trump if he wound up as the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.

Asked about that Thursday by Axios’ Jonathan Swan, McConnell said he has “an obligation to support the nominee” of his party. And McConnell said that his two statements on Trump were “not at all inconsistent, I stand by everything I said on January 6 and everything I said on February the 13th.”

Which, um, OK. Let’s take McConnell at his word. If you do that, you are left with this:

Mitch McConnell is totally cool with Republicans nominating someone who he believes provoked a riot at the US Capitol because he couldn’t cope with the fact that he had lost an election.

There’s simply no other conclusion to be drawn here.

Pressed further by Swan, McConnell said: “I don’t get to pick the Republican nominee for president. They are elected by the Republican voters all over the country.”

That is a striking abdication of the leadership role he plays in the party.

The Point: Over the past 14 months, McConnell has adjusted his position on Trump because the base of the Republican Party never walked away from the former President as the Senate GOP leader clearly hoped they would. But that reality makes McConnell’s current position – in light of his past comments – pretty wild.