Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has seemingly embraced his role as a boogeyman for the left.
The moment: McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, once again appalled his critics by laughing dismissively as the Democratic challenger for his seat, Amy McGrath, castigated him during a debate on Monday.
McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, went on at length about the failure of McConnell’s Senate to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation.
- “The House passed a bill in May and the Senate went on vacation,” McGrath said, referencing the Senate taking a one-week Memorial Day recess after declining to take up the House’s $3-trillion package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “You just don’t do that. You negotiate. Senator, it is a national crisis,” McGrath continued, as McConnell chuckled.
- “If you want to call yourself a leader you’ve got to get things done. Those of us who served in the Marines, we don’t just point fingers at the other side. We get the job done.”
McConnell at one point stopped laughing for long enough to retort: “Nobody went on vacation.”
The reaction: Twitter critics, such as Democratic operative Kelsie Taggart, expressed outrage at McConnell’s behavior, accusing him of failing to take the “election, COVID, or [Kentucky] voters” seriously.”
Mark Hammill, a liberal actor best known for portraying Luke Skywalker in the iconic “Star Wars” movies, said McConnell’s “gleeful laugh” is “what pure evil looks like.”
“Is this your king?” MSNBC anchor Joy Reid asked Kentucky voters.
Others suggested the sound of McConnell’s voice would “haunt” them in their dreams and likened him to a “cartoon villain.”
“Cocaine Mitch”: Many of the right’s leading populists have derided McConnell as creature of the GOP establishment.
- But McConnell’s veteran political savvy has proved key to implementing President Donald Trump’s agenda, earning him the grudging honorific of “a swamp creature that Trump can count on.”
- Even liberals — who loathe McConnell for his success in appointing conservative judges, like Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — have acknowledged him as an “evil genius.”
Eschewing charisma, McConnell has instead kept on winning while leaning into his adversaries’ depictions of him as a sinister Svengali.
- In May 2019, McConnell flipped a fellow Republican’s primary attack on him by adopting the moniker “Cocaine Mitch” and selling “Cartel Member” merchandise on his campaign website.