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Sanders Says McConnell Cancelled August Recess Because He's "Scared to Death" GOP Will Lose Senate

"I think everybody knows why he's doing it. He wants to keep Democrats in Washington rather than campaigning."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks on stage during the Protecting Working Families Rally to stand up against the GOP tax cuts at Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Lisa Lake/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

Responding to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) abrupt decision on Tuesday to cancel most of the Senate's August recess, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in an interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday that the move clearly shows McConnell is "scared to death" that the GOP might lose control of the Senate in November.

"McConnell doesn't want the PR nightmare of dozens of negative town halls in August."
—Sam Quigley, Patriotic Millionaires

"It's very clear, I think everybody knows why he's doing it. He is scared to death... that Republicans might lose control over the Senate," Sanders said. "Given the fact that there are a lot more Democratic incumbents [up for reelection] in the Senate than Republicans... he wants to keep Democrats in Washington rather than campaigning. I think, you know, that's pretty petty. But that's the way it is."

Watch:

In order to take back the Senate from the deeply unpopular Republican Party—which is headed by the "least popular first-year president on record"—Democrats must both defend all 26 of their current seats and flip two Republican seats.

While analysts have argued the Democrats are less likely to take back the Senate than the House, recent polls have indicated that their chances of retaking the Senate "are looking stronger" as the November midterms approach.

Echoing Sanders' assessment of McConnell's apparent hardball political maneuver in a statement on Tuesday, Sam Quigley of Patriotic Millionaires argued that "McConnell doesn't want the PR nightmare of dozens of negative town halls in August."

"Senate Republicans are running scared," Quigley concluded. "Mitch McConnell's decision to cancel the August recess doesn't come from a full legislative agenda and a busy schedule, it comes from a place of fear. Fear of Democrats reclaiming the Senate in November, and fear of him and his colleagues being held accountable by their constituents in August town halls."

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