Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ripped into President Joe Biden’s comparison of his political opponents to segregationists during his call for Democrats to eliminate the filibuster and pass a pair of election bills.
The president “delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country further apart,” McConnell said of Biden’s Tuesday speech at a rally in Atlanta. “Twelve months ago, this president said we should see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. Yesterday, he called millions of Americans his domestic enemies. Twelve months ago, the president called on Americans to join forces, stop the shouting, lower the temperature. But yesterday, he shouted that if you disagree with him, you’re George Wallace. George Wallace.”
Despite defending the filibuster throughout their careers in the Senate, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called on Senate Democrats to eliminate the procedural tactic and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bills would effectively nationalize election laws by restoring a legal provision allowing the Justice Department to challenge state laws as discriminatory. They would also mandate extensive early voting and absentee ballot provisions, as well as prohibit bans on ballot-harvesting.
Biden claimed that opponents of the two bills were siding “with voter suppression over voters’ rights,” adding that history would “be even less kind for those who side with election subversion.” (RELATED: Biden Attacks Senators Who Oppose Elections Bills By Comparing Them To Segregationists)
Several senators in Biden’s own party, most notably Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, oppose eliminating or weakening the filibuster.
As Senate Majority Leader, McConnell repeatedly refused to eliminate or weaken the legislative filibuster.
Biden “compared a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors. How profoundly unpresidential,” McConnell added.
“I’ve known, liked and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.”
Noting the tied Senate and the Democrats’ four-seat majority in the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader claimed that Biden received a mandate for “just one central thing.”
“Bridge a divided country, lower the temperature, dial down the perpetual air of crisis in our politics. That is the one central promise Joe Biden made. It is the one job citizens actually hired him to do. It is the one project that would have actually been consistent with the Congress that voters elected.”
“But President Biden has chosen to fail his own test. The president’s rant yesterday was incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office.”
Left-wing commentators blasted McConnell’s remarks. MSNBC’s Joy Reid accused him of being “this generation’s Strom Thurmond, James Eastland or Bull Connor,” and the Republican Party of being “the party of insurrection.”
“Mitch McConnell seems very angry he has been called out for his racism,” former NBA player and social media personality Rex Chapman claimed.
Conservatives endorsed the speech, with Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy describing it as an “excoriation.”
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) January 12, 2022
“Mitch McConnell just hit Joe Biden so hard that Corn Pop felt it. Holy moly what a speech,” CNN’s Scott Jennings joked.