When historians teach profiles in courage from the year 2018, they will surely tell the tale of Mitch McConnell: statesman, husband, memelord.
The senate majority leader, famous for his dedication to obstructing President Obama and that time he posed in front of a confederate flag, had recently become a target of senate candidate Don Blankenship, ahead of the West Virginia Republican primary. Blankenship is a former coal CEO and a true slimeball, having been convicted on a conspiracy charge stemming from the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 miners in 2010. As a candidate, however, Blankenship seemed not too far from the typical Trumpian figure, throwing around wild accusations, casual racism, and staunch xenophobia. One ad dubbed McConnell “Cocaine Mitch,” for reasons too complicated (and dumb) to expend space on here. Much more galling, however, were Blankenship’s racist attacks on the family of McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, the current U.S. secretary of transportation.
The sleazy senate candidate told a West Virginia radio station last month that McConnell could be biased because his father-in-law is a “Chinaperson.” This comment was met with a lot of blowback in the press. Of course, according to the Trump playbook, when rebuked for being a racist creep, one must always double down, rather than back down. Blankenship soon released another ad attacking McConnell for helping create jobs for “China people” and getting money from his “China family.” Surely, McConnell would have some harsh words for someone who would say such things. Right?
Not if the person saying them is someone who will support the president’s agenda.
When asked ahead of Tuesday’s primary whether Blankenship’s ads were racist, McConnell said: “Well, we’re going to find out what happens in West Virginia tonight, and I may have more to say about that tomorrow.”
Well, luckily for the world, Blankenship lost the Tuesday night primary, and is poised to join Roy Moore in the Hall of Shame for GOP also-rans in the post-Trump world. Soon after the news broke, McConnell was finally free to speak his mind about the personal attacks against his wife’s family and the attacks against himself. He chose to defend only himself.
McConnell tweeted the below meme, a riff on the official art for the Netflix series Narcos, officially embracing the nickname Cocaine Mitch.
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 9, 2018
Not only could he not muster up a (still sociopathically late) response to the racist insult of his wife’s family, he hit back on his own behalf in the most “How do you do, fellow kids” way possible.
It’s a window into McConnell’s unscrupulous, morally bankrupt mind-set, where absolutely nothing matters but a political win. Had Blankenship triumphed last night, McConnell likely would have abided whatever garbage the senate candidate dumped at his doorstep, all in service of defeating Democrat Joe Manchin in November. There’s no honor. There’s no decency. There’s only what you’re willing to put up with for the GOP agenda, which in McConnell’s case seems to be “anything.”