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Mitch McConnell ridiculed as he admits he ‘doesn’t know’ if any Black women work for him: ‘I haven’t checked’

‘We don’t have a racial quota in my office’

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 02 February 2022 06:19 GMT
'I haven't checked': Mitch McConnell on how many black women work in his office

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell was ridiculed after he said he hadn’t “checked” to see if any Black women worked for him.

The Republican senator from Kentucky, who worked closely with Donald Trump’s administration to radically reshape the federal judiciary, landed in hot water on Tuesday while responding to a question from journalist Pablo Manriquez about the number of Black women he employed.

“How many Black women do you have on staff?” Manriquez asked Mr McConnell. He further asked how this informed his decision on president Joe Biden’s pick for the Supreme Court nominee following the retirement of liberal Justice Stephen Breyer.

“Actually, I haven’t checked, we don’t have a racial quota in my office,” Mr McConnell responded.

“But I’ve had a number of African American employees, both male and female, over the years, in all kinds of different positions, including speechwriter,” he added.

Mr Biden has pledged to nominate the country’s first Black woman to the apex court.

The president has called the appointment of a Black woman to the high court “long overdue”, but a number of Republicans have opposed the move.

Mr McConnell’s response, which occurred during a press conference and has gone viral on social media, sparked a wave of criticism on Twitter.

Many users accused Mr McConnell of not caring about inclusionary practices.

“It’s the casual racism for me,” said Fred Wellman, a political consultant.

“Seeking out diversity of lived experience on one’s staff is a positive hiring practice in any org. Esp in democratic policymaking, representation of all American lived experience is our stated value. Senator McConnell is trying to smear that value by using term ‘racial quota’,” wrote journalist Susan Bordson in a comment on the video.

“Mitch McConnell is the only politician in DC who can commit a horrible gaffe once a week and then reset the next day like a racist Groundhog Day,” wrote political consultant Adam Parkhomenko.

“Translation: ‘The people in Mitch McConnell’s office can be any colour they want, as long as they’re WHITE’,” said writer and editor Steve Silberman.

Mr McConnell stirred a hornets’ nest earlier last week after he appeared to distinguish between “African-Americans” and “Americans” when asked about the concerns of voters of colour.

“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 Republican leader told reporters.

He later said he had mistakenly omitted the word “all” before “Americans” in his remarks. He added that the criticism he had received online as a result of the comment was an “outrageous mischaracterisation of my record”.

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