“This is 2022 and being American is not synonymous with looking or thinking like you. African Americans are, in fact, American citizens deserving of our recognition, respect, and equal protections under the law.”
“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,” McConnell said. “A recent survey, 94% of Americans thought it was easy to vote. This is not a problem. Turn out is up.”
Asked by CNN whether the senator had left out a word in his comment, a spokesman for his office said McConnell meant to say “other Americans” not just “Americans.”
The apparent misstatement has led to heavy criticism from the left, with groups using the Twitter hashtag #Mitchplease to address the Republican leader.
McConnell, in a statement provided to CNN on Thursday by his team, said he has “consistently pointed to the record-high turnout for all voters in the 2020 election, including African-Americans.”
This is not the first time McConnell has come under fire for comments pertaining to issues of race and racial discrimination in America.
And last year when asked about the racial history of the filibuster, McConnell responded, “It has no racial history at all. None.”
A spokesperson for McConnell later clarified that the senator “was referring to the origins of the filibuster.”
This story has been updated with a statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.