July 28th, 2010
03:47 PM ET
4 years ago

McConnell: Tea Party not racist

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that the Tea Party movement is not racist.
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that the Tea Party movement is not racist.

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that the Tea Party movement is not racist, clarifying a position voiced last week in which he sidestepped the prickly issue.

Last week, when asked about the controversy on CNN's State of the Union, McConnell said "Oh my goodness, ... I'm not interested in getting into that debate."

Related: Top Republican mum on Tea Party controversy

"What we're interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here," McConnell said.

Asked by Tea Party activist and radio host Mandy Connell on Monday about his statements on CNN, McConnell clarified his position.

"Well it probably wasn't my best answer," McConnell said. "What I should have done is agree with Joe Biden who said he and the president agreed the Tea Party is not a racist organization. That would have been a lot better answer."

McConnell's appearance on State of the Union came on the heels of a week in which elements of the Tea Party movement were caught in an imbroglio with the NAACP.

The longstanding civil rights organization passed a resolution that called on the conservative grassroots movement to repudiate racism within its ranks. The resolution set off a national firestorm that came to a head Friday when Mark Williams, a spokesman for a national Tea Party group, decided to remove a satirical letter he had posted on his blog site earlier in the week in response to the resolution.

-CNN's Martina Stewart contributed to this report


Filed under: Mitch McConnell • Tea Party movement
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Video Guy

    I think he just did not have a chance to check with the GOBP leaders on what to answer. I am sure Rush was not happy with his puppet.

    July 28, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Proud member of Global Zero

    I will agree that most are not. But the signs that people show at the meetings they have are.

    What I want to know is how the Neo Nazi group got to patrol the border in AZ. That law was written by a Neo Nazi group

    Jan Brewer is a racist

    Proud white woman that loves humainty

    July 28, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Independent One

    yes they rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    July 28, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. mark

    i guess a raciest would probably know

    July 28, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Shirley in California

    Tea Party not racist. AND THERE IS NO EARTH, NO MOON OR ANY STARS.

    July 28, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Augsbee

    We now have the Tea Party, Progressives, Netroots, etc... groups and all have their own agendas, depends which one you like, you agree with. I don't think one is more racist then the other. They all insult each other equally.

    July 28, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. hypocricnnation

    Great Answer Senator Mitch McConnell! It's Just Too Bad That It Took You A Couple Of Weeks To Come Up With Your Final Answer. It Takes You Only Half That Long To Obstruct Your Opponents In Congress Though.

    July 28, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Donnatella

    I beg to differ, any group where the majority is old white people we know what the deal is, especially when you didn't hear of these people until we elected our first black president. I'm white I have old conservatives in my family, how many people heard this line on the night to Obama was elected "That blank ain't my president" I quote. McConnell must be out of his mind.

    July 28, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. ann

    Yeah, right..........like I'd believe anything this old white klans man says...................He probably still has his Sunday "Whites" in his closet........

    July 28, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Shawn-GA

    Where is the proof that they are racist? There are those that are racist, that is true.. that can be said of ANY group.

    There is no video of anyone doing anything racist, there is rewards put up if you can prove racism. There IS video of Tea Party folks telling people who have racist signs to leave and they are not what this party represents...

    July 28, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. vic

    Sir tea party didn’t attack you so you don’t feel and first time you agree with white house what joke

    July 28, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Kate

    Many of my friends are tea partiers. Sadly, race is certainly at the bottom of their anger. They hate Obama because he is black and will believe anything evil of him that they hear.

    July 28, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. anagram_kid

    Perhaps McConnell should take a better look at some of the posters at TP events and read some of the comments on these sites. I agree that not all TP'ers are racist, but one cannot deny that there is a very vocal element in the movement that is.

    July 28, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. Jess C

    "Checks and balances" Mr. McConnell? Just how would your party understand that concept? Has there been an epiphany in the GOP? Oh, as long as your pockets stay deeply lined, it's ok to spend (2 wars as an example)? GOP is a joke. Poop in the toilet, but expect someone else to flush it.

    July 28, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Yes, there are some members of the Tea Party movement who are racist. The majority of them are probably not. What gets me, though is that, while I greatly admire their activist streak, they are directing their energy at the wrong targets. Taxes are the lowest they've been in 5 decades, morons. You're feeling the pinch because real wages haven't gone up in 30 years. Why don't you direct some of that frustration at your capitalist masters who are the real problem? The super-rich pay a lower percentage than you do because of all of the loopholes. And they create jobs..... In China. Have a nice day!

    July 28, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. ETM

    Most teabaggers are not racist but most surely are stupid!

    July 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. keeth in california

    "what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here."

    Funny you didn't listen to the American people when the Republicans had the WH and Congress. No checks, no balances, just ripping off the American people and leading us down the path to what we have today: a failed economy and at least $8.7 billion "lost" in Iraq (news today). Yeah, sure, we didn't need that money anyway. When will you Republicans learn that after the Bush years, and for at least the next 20 years, you have no credibility whatsoever?

    Why is it when the Democrats rip off America, it's called "socialism," but when the Republicans do it, it's called "Good for business?"

    Neither party has our best interests at heart.

    July 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Matt

    Hmmm Mitch yes they are and bigots to.

    July 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Florida Joe

    Yeah, McChinless had to check and get his Repub talking points before he could answer the question..........this guy is just a puppet.....anything the President is for, he's against....what a waste of skin...............

    July 28, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Thinker

    Sure they aren't. they just hold up racist signs, make racist comments, print racist material, shout racial slurs. But they are not racists.........

    July 28, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. GDMS

    The truth about who is raciest is this. The Democratic Party and the Liberal Media are raciest. The are usung the race card for their own political advantage. They are liars and disgraceful. Defeat racism and vote Republican in 2010 and 2012.

    July 28, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. cjr

    then what is it???

    July 28, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. LB in FL

    Right, Mr. 5 chins. Racism and the Tea Party are not mutually exclusive. You don't have to be a racists to be in the Tea Party, but most Tea Partiers are racially movitated. Does anyone think, for one minute, that if McCain or any other white person, Dem or Repub, had been elected President, the Tea Party would even exist today?

    Think about it.

    Oh, and that hack, Mandy Connell used to be on air here in SW FL. Yuck!

    July 28, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. pc

    this picture makes him look like a wax turtle!
    if mitch says it then we know he is lieing. i can not stand to look at this old white jerk.

    July 28, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Yeah Right!!!! then I'm the King of the England

    July 28, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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