Social media users lashed out against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday with the nickname “Moscow Mitch” following his move to kill two election security bills.
On Thursday, McConnell blocked a House measure that would have authorized $775 million to strengthen state election systems in addition to requiring paper ballots. He also quashed another proposal to require candidates, their campaign officials and their families to alert federal authorities if they’re offered aid from foreign governments ― something President Donald Trump himself has not committed to doing.
The next morning, the hashtag #MoscowMitch began spreading on Twitter, appearing to have been sparked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who slammed McConnell in a fiery rant on his “Morning Joe” broadcast.
“He is aiding and abetting [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI, intel committee,” he said. “All Republicans are all saying Russia is subverting American democracy and Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.”
Once the program aired, Scarborough’s jab at McConnell caught fire, even prompting actress Mia Farrow to jump in on the criticism.
“We ALL need to wake up,” she wrote. “#MoscowMitch keeps killing any bill that will protect American democracy from Putin’s attacks.”
On Wednesday, former special counsel Robert Mueller warned against continuing attempts at interference in U.S. elections during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and the intelligence committee, telling lawmakers it was happening in real time.
“Many more countries are developing the capability to replicate what the Russians have done,” he said. “They’re doing it as we sit here.”
Asked by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) whether candidates who are aware of foreign attempts to influence elections might now feel they have “no duty to report that to the FBI or other authorities,” Mueller said he fears it could be “the new normal.”
On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasized the threat of Russian meddling during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, stating that the country is “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”
“My view is until they stop they haven’t been deterred enough,” he added.