Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered an impassioned and outraged speech Monday, denouncing those who’ve criticized him for blocking election security legislation and calling him, among other things, a “Russian asset.” The Kentucky senator got a helping hand in this dispute from President Donald Trump on Tuesday — though what he said wasn’t actually much of a defense of McConnell.
“Mitch McConnell loves our country. He’s done a great job,” Trump said. “Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russia influence than even Donald Trump. And I know nothing!”
Of course, since it’s part of Trump and McConnell’s jobs to be aware of and protect the United States from foreign threats, this is a pretty meager defense.
If McConnell and Trump wanted to learn more about the threat Russia — as well as other countries — pose to the United States’ elections, they could have paid attention last week during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony or read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russia’s expansive targeting of U.S. election infrastructure in 2016.
But the real worry is that Trump, and perhaps McConnell too, isn’t that interested in learning about or preventing Russian interference in the election. Trump has already said that his campaign would, once again, welcome offers of hacked dirt on his opponents from foreign countries. By refusing to move forward with aggressive efforts to secure American elections going forward, Trump and McConnell are allowing themselves to be at best complicit in future attacks.
Watch the clip below:
President Trump: “Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump, and I know nothing.” https://t.co/QfjCf69waF pic.twitter.com/7ja15qwIZc
— The Hill (@thehill) July 30, 2019