U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell painted a nightmare scenario of what a Democratic takeover of Washington, D.C. could look like if this year’s presidential and legislative elections don’t go well for Republicans.
During a fundraising event Saturday evening at the home of Terry and Marion Forcht, in Corbin, McConnell said this year’s campaign is the most important since he took federal office in 1984.
“They (Democrats) are hard left these days,” McConnell told the invitation-only crowd of about 60 people. “This is not even Bill Clinton’s Democratic party. The only one totally honest about it is Bernie Sanders … If you look at what they are advocating, there is not much difference in any of them about where they want to take the country.”
Sanders, an Independent Senator from Vermont and self-described “Democratic Socialist” has advocated a national, government-run health care program, among other measures.
McConnell said Democrats, who already control a majority in the House of Representatives, want to gain control of the U.S. Senate and Presidency, then maintain control through a few measures — by admitting the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as states, thereby likely gaining two senators, and expanding the judiciary in order to appoint more judges.
“That’s what they have in mind, and they’ve got to be stopped because they are going to ruin this country if they get control of it,” McConnell told the crowd.
McConnell predicted tight Senate races, and a real battle for U.S. President, currently held by bombastic incumbent Republican Donald Trump. He said his advice to Trump would be to tone down some of his rhetoric and “remind everybody of what kind of shape we are in” economically.
“He’d be really hard to beat,” McConnell said.
McConnell spoke to the group at length about his own race against presumptive Democratic nominee Amy McGrath, a former U.S. Marine fighter pilot who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Andy Barr (R-Lexington) in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District in the 2018 election.
“Some of you probably think, given the position I’m in, I would be having an easy race. Let me tell you, that’s not going to be the case,” McConnell said.
He said McGrath raised $5 million in the first 24 hours after announcing her candidacy last year. The money came from over 300,000 donors, the vast majority of whom do not live in Kentucky, McConnell claimed. He added that money would be pouring into her campaign, and used to run a deluge of negative ads against him leading up to the November Election.
“She is going to be on the air continuously talking about me, and most of it is not going to be nice.”
McConnell said he has taken on the role as being the “defender of middle America” since he is the only congressional leader not from California or New York. He added that being in such a position also lets him set the legislative agenda and lets Kentucky, a relatively small state, “punch above its weight.”
The group applauded McConnell’s recounting of his decision not to immediately appoint a replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when he died. He also spoke about the recent impeachment proceedings against Trump, saying that turning back the effort to throw the president out of office was important because impeachment shouldn’t be used simply because of policy disagreements or because someone is “impolite.”
McConnel said his re-election bid is important for conservatives because he represents a firewall against changes Democrats may want to enact.
“If he [Trump] doesn’t [win], and I’m still majority leader of the Senate, none of that stuff will pass. None of it,” McConnell said emphatically.
Terry Forcht, Founder and Chairman of Forcht Group of Kentucky, made brief remarks while introducing McConnell calling him a “great American” and “good friend.”