Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is being accused of making everything worse. The senior Kentucky senator is up for reelection in 2020 and seems to be running on a campaign of meanness, violence and cruelty.
The Washington Post noted that the McConnell campaign has had two very high-profile missteps over the course of the last several days that have not only been public relations disasters but exposed a side of the senator that is escalating the most hostile and ugly parts of politics and government.
McConnell began calling himself the “grim reaper” of legislation in the Senate, something Democrats latched onto and repeated to characterize the do-nothing legislative branch that is refusing to pass laws. Less than a week after a mass shooting in Gilroy, California and hours after dozens of Texans were shot in El Paso, McConnell posted a picture of a graveyard with headstones with names like Merrick Garland and others.
Twitter users said that the tweet was inappropriate and callous. Others demanded it be taken down. Just a few hours after, another mass shooting erupted in Dayton, Ohio, just a little over 100 miles from McConnell’s state.
As Americans were grappling with the death and carnage at the hands of another senseless week of violence, McConnell’s volunteers posted a photo with a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They were pictured in #TeamMitch with big smiles on their faces, pretending to choke her and sexually assault her.
Another incident involved a series of campaign t-shirts and swap that made light of illegal drug use, at a time Kentucky is among the worst states suffering from opioid deaths.
“There’s something troubling about a politician raising money in this way when so many people are languishing in prison for harsh penalties related to cocaine and other drugs,” The Post cited Michael Collins, the director of Drug Policy Alliance’s national affairs office.
McConnell’s office responded by saying they’d buy him a sense of humor.
Just last week, McConnell faced criticism for refusing to protect Americans from Russians hacking the 2020 election. McConnell has already been outed for standing in the way of Americans learning of the Russia hack in 2016 prior to the election. An election security bill gained bipartisan agreement in the House and the Senate, but McConnell is still refusing to allow it to come to the floor. All 50 states were targeted by Russians in 2016 and the 2020 Russian intrusion is expected to be far worse.
The Post posed the questions: “What’s going on here? Is McConnell’s campaign purposefully seeking out controversy? Is it playing the game of an increasingly nasty, personal political environment?”
For voters unaware of the ins and outs of McConnell’s wars with Democrats, the senator risks coming off as unapologetically cruel, not to mention disconnected from the very real challenges Americans are facing.