Mitch McConnell defended himself against what he called an “outrageous mischaracterization” of his record on race relations and voting rights after he made some controversial comments about Black voters in America.
“This outrageous mischaracterization of my record as a result of leaving one word out inadvertently the other day, which I just now supplied to you, is deeply offensive,” the Kentucky Republican said on Friday (Jan. 21) in Louisville.
McConnell then listed some of the things that he has been a part of for Black people. “I was there for Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in the audience,” he added. “When I was a student at [University of Louisville], I helped organize the March on Frankfort, the first state public accommodation law. Thanks to my role model, John Sherman Cooper, I was actually there when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol in 1965.”
McConnell said that he meant to say the word was “all” before Americans in his comment.
As REVOLT previously reported, on Wednesday (Jan. 19), McConnell was asked for his message to voters in minority communities 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,” he said. “A recent survey, 94 percent of Americans thought it was easy to vote. This is not a problem. Turn out is up.”
His comments were met with backlash from people on social media and #MitchPlease began trending on Twitter. 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.”