August 5, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) rarely budges in the face of political pressure. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) thinks election security could be the exception, according to a report by Politico.
Calling the political plays on August 1, Schumer anticipated that—under the pressure of the “Moscow Mitch” campaign (a moniker that McConnell is said to dislike intensely)—the GOP leader soon would buckle and take up federal election security, a once-bipartisan issue.
“I predict that the pressure will continue to mount on Republican senators, especially Leader McConnell, and they will be forced to join us and take meaningful action on election security this fall,” Schumer said. “My prediction is our relentless push is going to produce results.”
McConnell is being bashed by pundits, Democrats, and even former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and current presidential candidate Julián Castro as “Moscow Mitch.”
In response, Politico said, this week, McConnell mounted a forceful defense on the Senate floor of his decision not to move forward on federal election security bills. He called suggestions that he’s “un-American” or a tool of Vladimir Putin a “smear” and an example of “modern-day McCarthyism.”
“I worked to ensure Congress sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the states to improve their defenses, and applauded the whole-of-government efforts that the administration continues,” McConnell said on July 29. “Some of my colleagues quickly pivoted right back into hysterical accusations that only fan the flames of this modern-day McCarthyism. These pundits are lying when they dismiss the work that has been done.”
But Democrats remain unconvinced that enough is being done to protect the election system from attacks by the Russians, as well as other incursions.
Senator Schumer even suggested that—because he has not “heard one good reason from Republicans why they shouldn’t do it”—there could be something more nefarious afoot, Politico reported.
“Is it, I hope not, that they think if Russia interferes it will be benefit them? Is it, I hope not, that they’re afraid of President Trump who has this childish and puerile view that if he admits there is Russian interference it makes his election illegitimate?” Schumer asked on Thursday.
Research contact: @politico