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McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is seen in the U.S. Capitol before a procedural vote in the Senate on voting rights legislation on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

"The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,'" said Rep. Ilhan Omar, "it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Brett Wilkins

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was excoriated Thursday after suggesting that Black Americans aren't really American during a news conference the previous evening.

"McConnell's comments suggesting African Americans aren't fully American wasn't a Freudian slip—it was a dog whistle. The same one he has blown for years."

At a Wednesday evening press conference, McConnell (R-Ky.)—who joined with the rest of the GOP to block the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act—was asked by a reporter what his message was for "voters of color who are concerned" that without the legislation they won't be able to cast their votes in the upcoming midterm elections.

"Well, the concern is misplaced," said McConnell, "because if you look at the statistics, African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

Democrats subsequently accused the senator of racism, with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeting that "Jim Crow is alive and well."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted, "The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,' it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181), who is running for U.S. Senate, tweeted: "Mitch McConnell's comments suggesting African Americans aren't fully American wasn't a Freudian slip—it was a dog whistle. The same one he has blown for years."

Charles Booker, the progressive former Kentucky state legislator also running for the U.S. Senate, responded to the Republican leader's remarks by tweeting, "I am no less American than Mitch McConnell."

The government accountability watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said: "When Mitch McConnell says we don't need to protect voting rights because 'African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,' he makes it clear why we need to protect voting rights."

Some Twitter users were moved to share a quote by the late novelist Toni Morrison: "In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate."


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