The Internet Can’t Stop Dunking on Mitch McConnell

#MitchPlease has been trending since Wednesday.

Mitch McConnell called the criticism of his comments "offensive and outrageous." Tom Williams/AP

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It has been an ugly week for Mitch McConnell.

Addressing reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday, the Senate Minority Leader made an offensive comment about Black voters. “If you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,” he said, seeming to imply that Black Americans aren’t Americans. 

The internet wasn’t having it. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) tweeted, “After centuries of building this nation, Republicans still don’t consider Black voters to be Americans…We cannot pretend that the days of Jim Crow are behind us.” Illinois Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush tweeted, “African Americans ARE Americans. #MitchPlease.” And Patriot Takes, a left-wing organization that posts unflattering videos of GOP political figures, resurfaced this video clip from 2015:

The hashtag #MitchPlease has continued to trend on Twitter since Wednesday.

On Friday, McConnell tried to walk the statement back, which only led to more confusion and outrage. In a news conference in Kentucky, he called the backlash to his statement “offensive and outrageous,” and said had misspoken on Wednesday by omitting the word “almost.” This was, apparently, another mistake, because shortly after consulting an aide, he returned to the microphone to clarify the word he should have included was “all.” (And beforehand, McConnell’s office had told CNN McConnell meant to say “other” Americans.)

“I was there for Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in the audience…I was actually there when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol in 1965,” McConnell said Friday, in an attempt to defend his civil rights record. “I have had African American speech writers, schedulers, office managers over the years.”

The reactions to McConnell’s implosion keep rolling in. Here’s a sampling:

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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