McConnell Retracts Telling Companies to 'Stay Out of Politics' Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 08:15 PM
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is backpedaling on his rebuke of corporations "using economic blackmail to spread disinformation," saying they are "entitled to be involved in politics."
"I didn't say that very artfully [Tuesday]," McConnell told reporters at a Kentucky news conference Wednesday. "They're certainly entitled to be involved in politics. They are. My principal complaint is they didn't read the darn bill."
McConnell was expressing frustration that large companies like Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, and Delta Airlines were taking the Democrat side in arguments about passing election laws in Georgia, including protesting the state and baseball moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado.
"I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics," McConnell at his Monday news conference. "My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don't pick sides in these big fights."
McConnell stressed Wednesday that companies are falling for President Joe Biden's rhetoric and lies about Georgia's election reforms amounting to Jim Crow laws that once restricted the rights of Black Americans.
"The president of the United States called the bill the Jim Crow exercise to suppress voter turnout, presumably, based on race, because that's what the Jim Crow allegation is," McConnell said Wednesday in Paducah, Kentucky.
"That 'bastion of conservatism,' The Washington Post, gave the president 4 Pinocchios for lying about it."
McConnell issued an extensive statement Monday, rejecting "absurd tactics" and "the big lie" about Georgia's legally passed election laws.
"We are witnessing a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people," the statement read. "The President has claimed repeatedly that state-level debates over voting procedures are worse than Jim Crow or 'Jim Crow on steroids.' Nobody actually believes this.
"Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation. But there’s an old cynical saying that 'history is just the set of lies agreed upon.' And a host of powerful people and institutions apparently think they stand to benefit from parroting this big lie."
Even the Democrat-supporting Post did not fall for Biden's "disinformation," he added.
"The Washington Post has repeatedly debunked White House lies about legislation in Georgia: 'In reality, Election Day hours were not changed and the opportunities to cast a ballot in early voting were expanded.' Plenty of Democrat-run states allow fewer days of early voting than the new Georgia law requires.
"More than 70% of Americans, including a majority of Democrats and a supermajority of independents, favor commonsense voter ID requirements; even so, Georgia will accept alternatives to driver's licenses to verify absentee voters. All the facts disprove the big lie.
"These absurd tactics predate this Georgia law. Last summer, just weeks after Senate Democrats used the filibuster to kill Sen. Tim Scott's police reform and anti-lynching legislation, Democrats abruptly began calling the same rules they happily used themselves a 'Jim Crow relic.'"
Democrats are purposefully misleading companies and Americans because of their own congressional attempts to pass H.R. 1/S.R. 1 election reforms in their favor.
"This disinformation has a purpose," McConnell's statement continued. "Washington Democrats want to pass a sweeping bill that would let them rewrite all 50 states' election laws and turn the Federal Election Commission into a Democrat-run partisan body. This power grab is impossible to defend, so the left wants to deflect. Instead of winning the debate, they want to silence debate by bullying citizens and entire states into submission.
"It's jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves. Wealthy corporations have no problem operating in New York, for example, which has fewer days of early voting than Georgia, requires excuses for absentee ballots, and restricts electioneering via refreshments. There is no consistent or factual standard being applied here.
"It's just a fake narrative gaining speed by its own momentum."
McConnell's statement did not warn companies to "stay out of politics" – the verbal phrase he used in the news conference Tuesday – but he did suggest they are guilty of behaving like a "woke parallel government."
"Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex," McConnell's initial statement concluded. "Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling.
"From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order. Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box."