Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earned his trending Twitter hashtag of #MoscowMitch from the social media users who were outraged by his refusal to bring up House of Representatives-passed legislation to protect American elections from foreign interferences.
That his successful efforts to remove sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer — a company controlled by Vladimir Putin’s close ally, oligarch Oleg Deripaska — led to a deal to build the first new aluminum-rolling mill in the United States in nearly four decades in his home state of Kentucky helped cement the nickname, at least within online circles.
Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has taken up the #MoscowMitch hashtag to use as a cudgel to bash Senator McConnell for blocking virtually all of the significant legislation passed by her Democratically-controlled chamber from coming to a vote, including both gun reform legislation and election security measures.
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She used both the nickname McConnell hates and one he has oddly embraced — the Grim Reaper — to attack the Majority Leader while discussing the agenda of House Democrats with the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association in the state capital of Springfield today.
“We all want to invest in building our democracy and saving it from any enemies, foreign and domestic,” Pelosi told the Illinois politicians.
“We’ve sent our legislation to the Senate. Moscow Mitch says that he is the Grim Reaper. Imagine describing yourself as the Grim Reaper, that he’s going to bury all this legislation,” Pelosi said. “Well, we have news for him. All this legislation is alive and well in the general public.”
The House Speaker’s use of “Moscow Mitch” is sure to infuriate McConnell who has called the nickname likening him to a Russian stooge an “unhinged” smear and “modern-day McCarthyism.”
Given McConnell’s refusal to call the Senate back from vacation to take up sensible gun reform legislation that at a minimum would close loopholes and mandate universal background checks, Pelosi is less certain than President Trump that the NRA-funded Senate Majority leader will actually support any meaningful reform of federal gun regulations despite the spate of mass shootings in the last week.
McConnell’s own recent comments reinforced Pelosi’s view that she must keep constant pressure on the Majority leader to have any hope of movement on gun reform.
“If we did that, we would just have people scoring points and nothing would happen. There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on,” McConnell said of the push to reconvene the Senate to take up the already-passed House legislation.
“We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions and when we get back hopefully be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law,” he told Kentucky radio station WHAS last week.
While the results of her arm-twisting remain to be seen, you can watch House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exert that pressure to pass new gun regulations in the video of her remarks in the tweet below.
"We've sent our legislation to the Senate," Pelosi said Wednesday of House Dems' priorities.
"Moscow Mitch says he's the grim reaper..that he's going to bury all this legislation. Well we have news for him. All this legislation is alive and well in the general public" pic.twitter.com/DfBidD2N2R
— POLITICO (@politico) August 14, 2019
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Original reporting by Cristina Marcos at The Hill.