Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed the media for accusing him of being a Russian asset, calling it "modern-day McCarthyism."
"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 and damaging because of the way it warps our entire public discourse," McConnell said, calling out the Washington Post and MSNBC by name. The Washington Post published an opinion piece titled "Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset," claiming the senator was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough labeled McConnell "Moscow Mitch," and his colleague Donny Deutsch chimed in that "we are at war."
McConnell recounted his history of aggressively opposing Russia going back to the 1980s, including opposition to what he saw as the soft stances on Russia of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as well as Democratic officials who were optimistic about Vladimir Putin when he was elected in 2000.
McConnell said he blocked the election security bill put forward by Democrats because Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requested it be passed by unanimous consent, even though the bill was so partisan it only received one Republican vote in the House of Representatives. "It doesn't make Republicans traitors or un-American. It makes us policymakers with a different opinion," McConnell said. "But the outrage industrial complex doesn't let a little thing like reality get in their way. They saw the perfect opportunity to distort and tell lies and fuel the flames of partisan hatred, and so they did." He also said that election security had come so far since 2016 that Democrats joined Republicans in applauding the progress during a classified briefing.
"Benjamin Franklin said we have this republic if we can keep it, and among other things, keeping our republic means we can't let modern-day McCarthyism win. So here is my commitment. No matter how much they lie, no matter how much they bully, I will not be intimidated," McConnell said, "For decades, I have used my Senate seat to stand up to Russia and protect the United States of America. I'm proud of my record. I'm proud that it's right there in black and white, and liars cannot gaslight it away."