Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell Draws Boundary Between 'Americans' and Black People

McConnell continues to double down on his remarks that silently centered white Americans.

Jan 21, 2022 at 5:27 pm

click to enlarge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky - Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons
Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
A Kentucky Senator is making excuses for his recent racist comments, and the backlash has been swift.

After helping to crush a voting act named for a celebrated civil rights leader, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a comment on Jan. 19 in which he categorized African Americans and Americans into two different groups.  

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act failed to make it to the Senate floor on Wednesday night, after which a reporter asked McConnell, “What’s your message for voters of color who are concerned that without the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that they’re not going to be able to vote in the midterm?”

McConnell responded: “Well, the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high of a percentage as Americans.” The New York Times has fact-checked McConnell's claims.

A clip of the comment went viral on Twitter and drew heavy criticism. 

Former Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker — who is currently running for the U.S. Senate against Rand Paul — tweeted out the clip, with his own comment.

Jemele Hill, contributing writer for The Atlantic, also condemned McConnell's words, opining that McConnell believes white people are the "real Americans" in his view.
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert also commented on McConnell's claim, saying, "How embarrassing... that it came out exactly how he meant it." Colbert's McConnell segment begins at about 9:50 in the following clip.

On Friday, McConnell continued defending his remarks, claiming that he had left out the word "all" in front of "Americans." Manu Raju, CNN's chief congressional correspondent, reported that McConnell told journalists in Kentucky that it was an "inadvertent admission" while ignoring that he was silently centering white Americans as the default.
McConnell also claimed on Jan. 21 that he had "never been accused of this kind of thing" before.
Racism is the "kind of thing" McConnell has been accused of, and yes, it has credibly happened before. After McConnell doubled down on his defense on Friday, Twitter users unearthed footage of the Senator allegedly saying "My party does really good with white people, and I'm proud of that" (CityBeat has not yet verified the video, which sources say was recorded during a 2015 event).
McConnell also allegedly posed in front of a large Confederate flag in the 1990s while receiving an award from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He has since claimed that he would not pose for such a photo today, seemingly implying that associating with racist groups and artifacts is marginally less fine now.

A portion of this story was originally published in CityBeat sister newspaper LEO Weekly.

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