Mitch McConnell has angrily denounced critics who refer to him as “Moscow Mitch” over the Senate majority leader’s refusal to pass bipartisan laws protecting the US from Russian election interference.
“It’s modern day McCarthyism,” Mr McConnell told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday. “Unbelievable for a Cold Warrior like me who spent a career standing up to the Russians to be given a moniker like that.
“It’s an effort to smear me. You know, I can laugh about things like the Grim Reaper, but calling me Moscow Mitch is over the top.”
Mr McConnell, a close ally of Donald Trump's, in July refused requests from Democratic senators to pass bills which aimed to beef up America’s election infrastructure.
He argued the Trump administration was already making efforts to improve election security and that the bills were partisan in nature, despite them receiving support from senators of both parties.
It came a day after special counsel Robert Mueller told congress Russia was already attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
“They’ll say anything and do anything. This is what we’re up against with the hard left today in America,” Mr McConnell added, despite the term apparently being coined by former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough.
The nickname soon caught on, with House majority speaker Nancy Pelosi last month referring to her colleague as “Moscow Mitch” during a speech in Illinois in which she chided his blocking of legislation.
"We sent our legislation to the Senate," Ms Pelosi said. "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."
Mr McConnell has used the term "grim reaper" to describe his role in killing what he has characterised as far left legislation coming over from the Democrat-led House.
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