Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell ripped President Biden’s speech on the need for federal election reform as “utter nonsense,” saying the comments are only increasing the political divisions in the country.
“It would be laugh-out-loud funny if it wasn’t so completely and totally irresponsible,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
“This is our new president who promised to lower the temperature, bring America back together and rebuild a civil society where we can dialogue as fellow citizens,” the Senate minority leader said of Biden’s Tuesday speech in Philadelphia.
“We’ve won two world wars, faced down the Soviets, unwound brutal segregation, defeated actual Jim Crow laws, and endured the 9/11 attacks,” McConnell said. “But now the sky is falling?”
The president, speaking at the National Constitution Center, decried claims that the 2020 election, in which he defeated former President Donald Trump, was rife with fraud, and took issue with efforts by Republican-led states to pass sweeping election reform laws.
Republicans say the legislation will instill election integrity, but Democrats say the measures are intended to make it harder for people to vote.
Biden said the presidential election was held under intense “scrutiny and high standards” in cases examined by the courts, and by audits and recounts conducted by the states.
Instead of celebrating the election, which saw record turnout even as a pandemic raged, Biden claimed “something darker and more sinister” is happening.
“In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the Constitution. You try again. You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy,” Biden said.
“That’s not statesmanship; that’s selfishness,” he said.
McConnell also took aim at comments by Democrats comparing the election reform efforts to other seismic events in US history.
“These false comparisons are an insult to the actual hurdles that Americans have overcome,” McConnell said.
As for Texas Democrats who walked out of a special legislative session to travel to Washington, DC, to scuttle Republican-led voting reforms, McConnell said they’re shirking their duties to their constituents.
“In reality, they’ve just come here to Washington to snap selfies, bask in the limelight and beg Senate Democrats to take over Texas elections,” McConnell said. “More than 80 percent of Texans support voter ID.”