McConnell Blasts Biden's 'Divisive' Voting Rights Speech as 'Profoundly Unpresidential'

McConnell Blasts Biden's 'Divisive' Voting Rights Speech as 'Profoundly Unpresidential'

McConnell said Biden’s remarks were "incoherent, incorrect and beneath his office.”

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
January 12, 2022

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted President Biden's Georgia "deliberately divisive" speech about changing the filibuster to ease the passage of voting rights bills, calling it "profoundly unpresidential."

"We have a sitting president, invoking the Civil War, shouting about totalitarianism and labeling millions of Americans his domestic enemies?" McConnell said. "Yesterday, he poured a giant can of gasoline on the fire," McConnell said in remarks from the Senate floor Wednesday.

"How profoundly unpresidential," McConnell added. "I have known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at that podium yesterday."

On Tuesday, Biden traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, where he associated Republicans and Republican-led states t0 those from the Jim Crow era based on their voter integrity bill. The President accused Senate Republicans of lacking the "courage to stand up to a defeated president to protect the right to vote,"

In his remarks where he continued to invoke anger and Jan. 6th, the longtime Senator of Delaware endorsed "getting rid of the filibuster," claiming Republicans had "weaponized and abused" the filibuster to pull the "Senate further apart." Republican obstruction, Biden declared, had left Senate Democrats with "no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this."

For years, Biden had backed the procedure many times as Senator, most recently over the summer. In a CNN town hall, Biden threw cold water on progressive' push to eliminate the filibuster for passage of the voting rights bills, stating it would "throw the entire Congress into chaos."

Republicans blocked the passage of the two federalized voting bills nearly four times in the past year, using the filibuster procedure, arguing the bill represented a breathtaking federal infringement on states' authority to conduct their own elections under the 10th Amendment power.

In a scathing rebuke, McConnell declared Biden's speech as a "rant" that was "incorrect, incoherent, and beneath his office."

"The sitting President of the United States compared American states to totalitarian states. He said our country will be an autocracy if he does not get his way if he does not get his way. So the world saw our commander-in-chief propagandize against his own country, his own country in a way that would have made Pravda blush," McConnell said.

Biden on Tuesday likened Republicans to segregationists and Confederate leader Jefferson Davis.

"At consequential moments in history, they present a choice," Biden angrily screamed during his voting rights remarks. "Do you want to be the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?"

McConnell denounced Biden's endorsement for changes to the Senate rules, calling the President's address as an "advertisement" for the filibuster, noting the President had compared "a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors."

"You could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than what we've just seen, a President abandoning rational persuasion for pure, pure, demagoguery," McConnell said. "A president shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the framers built the Senate to check his power."

Biden made an appearance Wednesday at the Capitol to pay his respects to former Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid, who lay in state in the Rotunda. Asked to respond to McConnell's remarks, he said: "I like Mitch McConnell. He's a friend."

Despite Biden's heated pressure, Senate Democrats are unlikely to nuke the filibuster or pass voting legislation with both Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both holdouts who refuse to change their position on the Senate rule. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had vowed to move toward a showdown on votes on Democrats' voting legislation this weekend -- ahead of his self-imposed Monday deadline.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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