Senator Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) isn’t a fan of his newest nickname, “Moscow Mitch,” and in a radio interview on Tuesday morning, he complained about the moniker and called it “over the top.”
Right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt teed up McConnell with a softball, mentioning a few of his nicknames, including “Cocaine Mitch” and “the Grim Reaper” before saying, “but Moscow Mitch is McCarthyism. That’s absolutely despicable. What do you think of the last one?”
McConnell swung hard, saying, “I mean, it’s modern-day McCarthyism. Unbelievable for a Cold Warrior like me who spent a career standing up to the Russians to be given a moniker like that. It’s an effort to smear me. You know, I can laugh about things like the Grim Reaper, but calling me Moscow Mitch is over the top.”
Hewitt riffed, “It is simply an assertion that you’re doing the bidding of Moscow, which is, of course, pure McCarthyism. I thought we were past that in this country.”
Later in the program, McConnell defended his decision not to allow the Senate to vote on background check bills that have passed the House. He explained, “If the president took a position on a bill so that we knew we would actually be making a law and not just having serial votes, I’d be happy to put it on the floor.”
The “Moscow Mitch” nickname has become increasingly prevalent as President Donald Trump has played nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin and McConnell hasn’t been willing to call him out. In 2018, Trump blocked sanctions on Russia even after his United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, announced them. And during the recent G-7 Summit, Trump said that he’d like to see Russia back in the group.
As for directly supporting Moscow, McConnell has been questioned for refusing to bring election security bills to the Senate floor for a vote even though America’s intelligence agencies have determined that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election and top American military voices have said that the Russians will try to interfere in 2020.