Comments by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell regarding Black voters in the US have gone viral online and sparked widespread outrage.
While speaking on Capitol Hill on Wednesday evening (Jan. 19), the Kentucky Republican was asked for his message to voters in minority neighborhoods who are worried that voting constraints will keep them from the ballot box without new federal laws. “Well, the concern is misplaced. Because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,” McConnell said.
His comments were met with immediate backlash. Democratic Illinois congressman Bobby Rush slammed McConnell’s remarks, tweeting, “African Americans ARE Americans. #MitchPlease.”
Diana DeGette of Colorado described McConnell’s statement as “disgusting.”
“African-American voters ARE AMERICANS & to suggest otherwise is about as racist as it gets,” DeGette said in a tweet.
Charles Booker, former Kentucky state senator who is campaigning for the U.S. Senate, tweeted, “I am no less American than Mitch McConnell.” He added, “I need you to understand that this is who Mitch McConnell is. Being Black doesn’t make you less of an American, no matter what this craven man thinks.”
Activist and pastor Talbert Swan joked that he “can’t qwhite put my finger on” what McConnell meant. “I wonder what’s the difference he sees between ‘African-American voters’ and ‘Americans.’”
Malcolm Kenyatta, a Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, said McConnell’s comments were a true reflection of what the Republican party thinks about Black voters. “Mitch McConnell’s comments suggesting African Americans aren’t fully American wasn’t a Freudian slip – it was a dog whistle. The same one he has blown for years,” he said.
Between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 7, 2021, 19 states have passed over 30 laws restricting access to voting, according to the Brennan Center. Those restrictions disproportionately affect voters of color.
Check out McConnell’s remarks below.
In case you missed it, Mitch McConnell said the quiet part out loud last night: “African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”
Make sure everyone sees this.pic.twitter.com/ReOvHGJcnI
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) January 20, 2022