McConnell: ‘Everybody Ought to Tone Down Their Rhetoric’

By Melanie Arter | July 16, 2019 | 8:38pm EDT
(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

( - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday that the political rhetoric in Washington has become “way, way overheated all across the political spectrum.”

“I think there’s been a consensus that political rhetoric has really gotten way, way overheated all across the political spectrum. We’ve heard facilities on the U.S. border called concentration camps. We’ve seen the far left throw accusations of racism at everyone, anyone who disagrees with them on anything, including the speaker of the House,” he said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).


“We’ve seen a freshman Democratic woman use anti-Semitic tropes to imply only support Israel because of campaign contributions,” McConnell said, referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “The most vile accusations and insults against our nation have become incredibly routine, and we’ve seen back and forth over the past few days.

“Most of you know Justice Scalia was my all-time favorite. Now here’s what he used to say. He said, ‘I don’t attack people. I attack ideas,’ and I think that’s a good lesson for all of us. From the president to the speaker to the freshman members of the House, all of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse,” he said.



“Our words do matter. We all know politics is a contact sport, but it’s about time we lowered the temperature all across the board. All of us ought to contribute to a better level of discourse,” the majority leader said.

McConnell spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference the same day that the House approved a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets about four progressive female House members as racist.

The resolution passed along mostly party lines, with four GOP House members voting in favor of it: Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.).

When asked whether he thinks Trump is a racist, McConnell said, “The president’s not a racist, and I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country, but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view. That’s the point. To single out any segment of this I think is a mistake. It’s been this kind of rhetoric from a whole lot of different sources all across the ideological spectrum in our country.”

McConnell, who is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, pointed out that he’s “obviously a big fan of legal immigration.”

“It’s been a big part of my family for a quarter of a century. As I look around the country and watch the contributions that have been made by new arrivals and the children of new arrivals, it’s been re-invigorating America for hundreds of years, so I’m a big fan of legal immigration,” he said.

“The secretary of Transportation came here at age 8 legally, not speaking a word of English and has realized the American dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time and is good for America, and we ought to continue,” McConnell said.

“As I said, legal immigration has been a fulfilling of the American dream. New people who come here have a lot of ambition, a lot of energy, tend to do well and invigorate our country, and my wife’s a good example of that,” he said.


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