Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is upset that his obstruction of an election security bill has fueled widespread criticism and suggestions of disloyalty.
On Monday, McConnell accused his critics of “modern-day McCarthyism” for suggesting he was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin after the hashtag #MoscowMitch began trending on Twitter.
In a floor speech and subsequent series of tweets Monday evening, McConnell lashed out at anyone who questioned why he had done little to stand up to Putin.
“Over the last several days, I was called unpatriotic, ‘un-American,’ and essentially treasonous by a couple of left-wing pundits on the basis of boldfaced lies,” the Kentucky Republican complained. “I was accused of ‘aiding and abetting’ the very man I’ve singled out as our adversary and opposed for nearly 20 years: Vladimir Putin. This was less than 24 hours after the Outrage-Industrial Complex was disappointed yet again by [former] special counsel [Robert] Mueller.”
He denounced this criticism as “Modern-day McCarthyism” that actually helps “Putin’s destabilizing work.”
Modern-day McCarthyism is poison for American democracy. It is shameful to imply that policy disagreements make the other side unpatriotic. The people who push such unhinged smears are doing Putin’s destabilizing work for him.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) July 29, 2019
McConnell, however, has been silent regarding actual “McCarthyism” by those in his own party.
Earlier this month, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused political opponents of being communists who were “anti-America,” because they had been critical of President Donald Trump’s policies.
“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,” he said during an interview on Fox & Friends, referring to New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and three other congresswomen of color, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). “They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they’re calling the guards along our border—the border patrol agents—concentration camp guards. They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for ‘the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.”
To date, McConnell has said nothing publicly to condemn Graham’s comments.
McConnell was similarly dismissive of Trump’s comments smearing the four Democratic congresswomen — among other things, the president said they should “go back” to their home countries (all but one were born in the United States), claimed they hated America, and suggested falsely that they loved Al Qaeda.
McConnell responded to those attacks by stating that, while everyone should lower the temperature of their rhetoric, “the president [was] on to something” with his remarks.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why the top Senate Republican’s outrage did not extend to those within his own party.
Back in 2016, the Obama administration reportedly proposed a bipartisan warning to the American public that Russia was attempting to interfere in the presidential election to help Donald Trump. McConnell refused, keeping the public in the dark as Trump narrowly won the White House.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller delivered a dire warning to Congress last week that, after effectively meddling in 2016, Russia was already working on its 2020 sequel effort. Senate Democrats responded by attempting to revive election security legislation that McConnell has — like virtually all other bills proposed in this Congress — blocked from consideration.
McConnell’s GOP majority, predictably, squelched the effort.