Politico

‘We will stand our post’: McConnell defends GOP Senate, urges against D.C. statehood


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used his primetime address Thursday on the final night of the Republican National Convention to defend the work of his Republican caucus and argue against statehood for Washington, D.C.

In a pre-recorded speech delivered from Louisville, Ky., the nation’s highest-ranking GOP lawmaker called the fall election “incredibly consequential for middle America” and leaned into President Donald Trump’s culture-based attacks on Democrats.

“They want to tell you what kind of car you can drive. What sources of information are credible. And even how many hamburgers you can eat,” he said.

Continuing to condemn alleged Democratic policy priorities, McConnell claimed that lawmakers from the opposing party “want to codify all this by making the swamp itself, Washington, D.C., America’s 51st state. With two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they’ve done.”

In a historic vote two months ago, the Democratic-controlled House approved legislation to grant statehood to the District of Columbia — the first time either chamber of Congress has agreed to give voting congressional representation to the nation’s capital.

McConnell went on to describe his Republican majority in the Senate as the “firewall” against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda, and said he was “immensely proud” of the Senate’s accomplishments under GOP control.

“Like President Trump, we won’t be bullied by a liberal media intent on destroying America’s institutions,” he said. “We will stand our post on behalf of the millions of Americans whose stories aren’t told in today’s newspapers, whose struggles are just as real.”

McConnell’s remarks on Thursday, which aired less than an hour before Trump’s convention acceptance speech, come as his Republican Senate majority remains imperiled ahead of November — in part because of Trump’s sagging political prospects.

The address by McConnell also came despite his campaign spokesperson initially saying last week that he would not have a speaking role at the convention. A campaign source later told USA Today that McConnell would in fact submit a taped speech.

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