Faced with criticism and the nickname "Moscow Mitch" for blocking a series of bipartisan election security bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to complain. "I don't normally take the time to respond to critics in the media when they have no clue what they're talking about. But this modern-day McCarthyism is toxic," he grumbled.
On MSNBC's "All In," anchor Chris Hayes and former Sen. Harry Reid's spokesman Jim Manley discussed McConnell's uncharacteristic loss of composure.
"For Sen. McConnell, it was a miniature nutty," said Manley. "He rarely, if ever, gets that dramatic and/or gets that ramped up. But obviously he is feeling the effects of something. Something is going on. And I think that's that he is getting really uncomfortable with where the president is trying to take this whole debate ... He thinks that something should be done [on election security]. But as long as the president isn't for it, Sen. McConnell is never going to go for it. Why? Because he is a afraid of the president. He is up for election in 2020, and the last thing he wants is a primary."
"I see. So he doesn't want to jam the president on this," said Hayes. "He is blocking it to protect the White House. But he is feeling upset and hurt and frustrated and vulnerable, which is why he took to the floor to whine because he is being squeezed, essentially."
"Exactly," said Manley. "And like I said, he's smart enough to know that there's an idea out there that the American people that something's getting to done to deal with this Russian stuff. You know, the president can sit in the Oval Office all he wants and rail against these investigations and deny that anything happened. But the reality is much different, and McConnell knows it. And here he is acting no better, no worse than a lowly House Republican freshman whose only goal in life is to avoid getting a primary by not upsetting the president.
"We should note also that he's got a history here of protecting Trump on this front," said Hayes. "Back in 2016, there is that meeting that has been widely reported. And Joe Biden talked about this recently, that he refused to sign on to a bipartisan statement. He was the lone objector. He questioned the intelligence. That was hugely helpful to Donald Trump."
"It was ... Now he is getting jammed," said Manley. "He is going to have to deal with the real issue, and he doesn't like it. And he lashed out yesterday, the likes of which have I never seen by McConnell. He is being put in this position. He knows it's wrong, so all he can do is lash out with that outrageous suggestion of 'McCarthyite tactics.'"