Mitch McConnell Isn’t Worried About Protests, ‘Left Wing Agitators’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens during a news conference after the Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's controversial education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Friday that he wasn’t worried about a wave of protests across the country against his and President Donald Trump’s agenda.

After accusing Senate Democrats of dragging their feet during the confirmation process of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, “to give their left-wing agitators enough time to get up and get organized,” McConnell was asked at a press briefing directly about protesters.

One reporter asked the majority leader about a trend of Republicans calling protesters “paid,” and whether he encouraged others in his caucus to view protests in that light.

“I can only speak for myself, I’m not afraid of protesters,” McConnell responded. “This is an open country. People have an opportunity to come express themselves. I don’t go down to Lafayette Park every day, but I’m told there’s somebody there protesting something on any given day.”

“Remember the famous Claude Rains line in ‘Casablanca’?” McConnell mused. “‘Gambling in Casablanca?’ Demonstrations in America? It doesn’t bother me. Everybody’s got a right to express themselves. As long as they do it peacefully, I have no problem with it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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