Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addressed the comments he made during a press conference on Wednesday, when he seemingly implied that "African American voters" are not "Americans."
McConnell was speaking with reporters about the Senate's failure to change the filibuster rule to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act with a simple majority.
The filibuster amendment needed 51 votes to change the rule, but two Democrats did not support it — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Both senators sided with Republicans and voted against overruling the filibuster, ABC reports.
The reporter asked McConnell what his message was to voters of color who are concerned that they will not be able to vote in the 2022 midterm elections without the passing of the voting rights act.
In a horrible attempt to reassure voters, McConnell answered, "Well, the concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans," the Daily Beast reports.
His office, however, said that the senator was referring to turnout rates among the electorate, according to People.
His initial comments on Wednesday triggered people in the Black community, who have long fought to be considered Americans.
The hashtag #MitchPlease gained traction on social media, with Black people posting pictures of themselves and proclaiming their nationality.
I am a 7th generation American. 7 freakin’ generations and here we are in 2022, fighting for #VotingRightsMatter with stupid people still wanting to shout at me and say Go back to Africa. Are you one of them, Mitch McConnell? I *am* American. #Mitchplease
— Gwyn McGee (@beyondmaya) January 20, 2022
????..Wow..I just found African Americans are different Americans according to Mitch McConnell. I was born here Mitch…I was born here! That alone makes me American.
— P (@phezzee) January 20, 2022
The senator continued in his remarks on Wednesday, saying that "94% of Americans thought it was easy to vote. This is not a problem."
"Turnout is up. Biggest turnout since 1900. It's simply — they're being sold a bill of goods to support a Democratic effort to federalize elections. … This goes back 20 years, the excuses change from time to time," he added.