By Eva McKend, CNN
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing heavy criticism for comments he made this week in response to a question about the concerns of voters of color.
Virginia Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin condemned the remark in a letter to the Kentucky Republican, saying, “I am writing to you today in response to your recent suffrage comment in which you insinuated that African Americans are somehow not American citizens.”
“It’s 2022 and being American is not synonymous with looking like you or thinking like you. African Americans are, in fact, American citizens deserving of our recognition, respect, and equal protection under the law.
During Wednesday’s weekly Republican leadership press conference, Latino Rebels reporter Pablo Manríquez asked McConnell what his message was to voters of color who feared they might not be able to vote midterm. if Congress did not pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. .
“Well, the concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters vote in as high a percentage as Americans,” McConnell said. “According to a recent poll, 94% of Americans thought it was easy to vote. This is not a problem. The turn is up.
Asked by CNN if the senator left out a word in his comment, a spokesperson for his office said McConnell meant “other Americans” and not just “Americans.”
The apparent inaccuracy drew heavy criticism from the left, with groups using the Twitter hashtag #MitchPlease to address the Republican leader.
“It’s definitely #MitchPlease. African Americans are ARE Americans, 365 days a year! read a tweet posted by the Congressional Black Caucus account.
This isn’t the first time McConnell has come under fire for comments regarding issues of race and racial discrimination in America.
In 2019, when asked about his stance on reparations for slavery ahead of a landmark House hearing on the issue, he said, among other things, “We elected an African-American president.” The response sparked outrage, with some saying he suggested the country had paid for “the sin of slavery” by electing Barack Obama.
And last year, when asked about the racial history of the filibuster, McConnell replied: “There is no racial history at all. Nothing.”
“For more than a century, the filibuster was widely understood to be primarily dedicated to upholding white supremacy and blocking civil rights,” Adam Jentleson, author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senator and the Crippling of Democracy”, said at the time.
A spokesperson for McConnell later clarified that the senator “is referring to the origins of the filibuster.”
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