On Monday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) accused multiple media channels of engaging in “modern-day McCarthyism” after they criticized the Senate majority leader for blocking a pair of bills last week designed to implement stronger election security.

“This is the state of left-wing politics,” McConnell said of the liberal media. “These people have worn out the volume knob so badly that they have nothing left but the most unhinged smears. Welcome to modern-day McCarthyism.”

“I was accused of aiding and abetting the very man I’ve singled out as an adversary and opposed for nearly 20 years, Vladimir Putin,” McConnell said.

The Senate majority leader blocked the pair of bills on Thursday, on the same day the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report on Russian interference in 2016.


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McCarthyism refers to the post-World War II period of American politics during the late 1940s and 1950s, when then-Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy launched a fervent campaign against alleged communists in the U.S. Government and in other major institutions. The effort was designed to identify treasonous Americans, but often included baseless accusations without evidence.

The Washington Post and MSNBC were among the many outlets that blasted McConnell for halting Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to pass election-security legislation. The move comes in the wake of damning revelations that Russia infiltrated voting databases in all 50 U.S. states during the 2016 election.

Dana Milbank of the Post was perhaps one of McConnell’s strongest critics. The reporter called the Kentucky GOP senator a “Russian asset” who was “doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.”

McConnell responded to this accusation by calling it a “shameful smear” and said Milbank spent much of Barack Obamas administration “carrying water for its failed foreign policies.”

Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, a former Republican congressman from Florida, went as far as calling McConnell “Moscow Mitch” on his show late last week. The hashtags #MoscowMitch and #MoscowMitchMcTreason rapidly began trending on Twitter after Scarborough’s remarks.


The Senate majority leader said he refused to back the election-security bills because he believed it was a partisan measure from Democrats that would only fuel more division.

“They saw the perfect opportunity to distort and tell lies and fuel partisan hatred,” McConnell said of Democrats.

The Kentucky Republican also boasted about his previous efforts to condemn Russia, like his request that the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate Russian meddling during the 2016 election. McConnell said he also voiced concern during the 1990s that Bill Clintons administration was not severe enough in sanctioning Russia.

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