July 28th, 2010
03:47 PM ET
8 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. Seth

    CNN what impact has the Republican/Tea-Party had, in every race that the they have entered they have lost to the Democrats or they are polling lower than the Democrats.

    The Democrats are right that the tea-Party could break the Republican party, because average voters are repulsed by how extreme they are.

    The Republicans created a beast to ride into victory but a beast-is-a-beast and now the beast is riding the Republican party.

    July 28, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Michael, Phoenix AZ

    Ahhh, that's right Mitch, go with the wind!

    July 28, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. katiec

    What the American people are asking them to do??
    What we Americans want is a political party that does what they are elected to do and that is represent us and our country.
    The republicans have strayed so far away from what is good for our country with their undying support and love for Wall St, the rich, sacrificing middle class, unemployed, less fortunate, veterans etc for their politics as usual which brought our country to it's knees, personal gains and goals, destroy our president regardless of the consequences, and win at any cost.
    They are disgrace to our political system and our country.

    July 28, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. w l jones

    Why not tell the true story of the history of this country!well the people of west Africa were here for over one hundred thousand years before everybody else. So everybody else melted with them. Said enough. Bless.

    July 28, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Baby Boomer

    I don't blame him for not wanting to get into the mess. I do find it interesting how people who have rarely been discriminated against think they know what racist of bigoted behavior looks or feels like.
    There's no frame of reference so I really don't get it. I think the signs carried and monkeys attached to Tea Party members shoulders speak volumns. They look like angry, racist people to me.

    July 28, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Lori in St Pete

    Oh no, it's THAT photo again! Really CNN, don't you have any other stock photos of Beaker?! I can't look at that photo without laughing out loud because it reminds me of a post that someone made about it on CNN a few months ago:

    (paraphrasing) It's like waking up from a sound sleep, and there's Beaker standing over your bed, strung out on crystal meth, getting ready to slap you awake so you can take him to buy more!

    I could hardly type that without ROFLMAO!!!

    July 28, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Please stop this dictatorship, from destroying this country.

    July 28, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Cosmo

    "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.

    Sorry for the civics lesson Mitch, but the system already has checks and balances. The GOP's problem is that they do not like the fact that in a democracy the majority party has control AND THE OTHER PARTY DOES NOT. Your pary's response to this is to lock up the Senate which has a peculiar super-majority rule where 40% can thwart the rule of the majority, and instead of the GOP being the "loyal oppostion", you and your cronies have decided to obstruct any action of the party voted in by the majority of voters in this country.

    The checks and balances that the voters have is that they will vote against your cynical and self-serving GOP candidates in the fall elections. So thank God for checks and balances, Mitch.

    July 28, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. GL

    They are so and please go back in hiding old racist fool.

    July 28, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Bob

    The Tea Party is as racist as the republican party in the fact that, while its true that not republicans are racists, its also true the most racists are republicans/tea baggers........

    July 28, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Texas Progressive

    Are we to believe the Republicans or believe our eyes? Tea Party gatherings seem to always be adorned with racist and hateful signs and slogans. Racial bigots are indeed an important part of the Republican Party's support base.

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

    Yes they are. And rather than helping the country, they are spreading hatred.
    tea party= Republicans what is new on this?

    July 28, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. G-Nope-A-Saur

    "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.

    He should have continued: "because we've seen what horrible damage the first 6 years of "Flight Suit" George W Shrub's administration, with Republicans fully in charge, did to the lower-and middle-class, environmental protection, consumer protection and financial markets. And we're still waiting for all of the jobs and economic expansion that were promised as a result of those 2001 and 2003 tax cuts..."

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

    There you have it folks, if the RepubliKlan Grand Dragon says the Tea Party is not racist, it must be true.

    Now drink your Reich-wing kool-aid and start burnin' them science books.

    July 28, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. False conspiracy fears are GOP Taliban tactics

    Mitch speaks for the 80% of Americans who wanted financial reform by not supporting it. Mitch also speaks for the 65% of Americans who want tighter regulations on off shore drilling by not supporting it.

    July 28, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Augsbee

    Come on people, what about the Progressives, Netroots, you're going to tell me their agendas are better than the Tea Party and they don't have a racist problem among their members????

    July 28, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Tayo

    Yeah right!

    Then what are they?

    July 28, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. NC

    Thank all of you decent people for speaking out against racism. I wish the racists had to walk a day in the shoes of those that are discriminated against.

    July 28, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Peggy - TX

    Racist is as that whish acts Racist.

    Tea Party from its inception embraced the Racist agenda, gave the Racist sanctuary and let the racist expose a Racist message under the pretext of “Taxed Enough Already.” The Tea Party in general has presented a few legitimate issues, but, overall, the message is nonsensical and party has done a weak job of condemning the racism in its mist that does not approach the vigor of the Racism the Party actively and repeatedly promotes.

    The tea Party is condemded as Racist, not merely because they disagree with the Democrats, as so many of the Racist try with out justification to assert; but, rather, because they act like Racist, they talk like Racist and they effectuate a Racist agenda.

    July 28, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. JLA

    What Biden and the Whitehouse said is that the Tea Party is not a "racist organization" and even the NAACP did not ever say that it was. What everyone knows it that there are racist elements within the Tea Party (as PROVEN by Mark Williams as well as the people regularly holding up racist signs at Tea Party events) and the Tea Party refuses to admit this obvious fact or address the problem. The NAACP had asked the Tea Party to do something about its racist element (e.g. ask people holding up racist signs to leave events) which is a very reasonable request and something that the Tea Party should have been doing anyway.

    As for the GOP, they have no new ideas, just the same cut taxes and degulate philosophy that they have always had. All it has brought about is a huge shift in wealth away from Middle Class Americans to the ultra-rich 5% of the population. In addition, removing all regulations had led to the Enron fiasco, the Wall Street meltdown, increasing insurance costs, and jobs moving overseas. The last things we need are more tax cuts for the rich and large corporations along with further deregulation. The GOP has not learned from their mistakes and our country will suffer if they are allowed back into power.

    July 28, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Liz the First

    There must be a new definition of 'racist' old turtle-head is looking at because these clowns sure fit the old definition. the rethugs are operating under the delusion that if you say something, anything, it becomes true. NOT! these folks really are reality-challenged. of course, their intellect-deficient base will believe anything they're told by their overlords so why not spout the most inane garbage. someone is always dumb enough to buy what these idiots are selling.

    July 28, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. mike

    I never trust a man with no chin he looks like a bird I wonder if he eats
    chicken crap look lets face it the tea party is filled with a bunch of racist people and everyone knows it these are the uneducated that think that the way things should be is when we sere shooting buffalo from trains and indians were being killed and being racist was excepted well welcome to the real world and come up with some real solution instead of the old republican slash and burn

    July 28, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. G-Nope-A-Saur

    McConnell, and all the Republican Tea Partiers, have twisted the point of the NAACP resolution. That resolution didn't call the Tea Party racist – it asked the Tea Party to denounce the racism of people who claim to be in the party. They weren't being called racist for all of their small government / low tax screeds. Rather, SOME Tea Partiers were showing up at their rallies with extremely racist signs. And contrary to what Andrew Breitbart said (while being paranoid and playing the victim), they were NOT event "infiltrators."

    July 28, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. bj

    Well, well, well. What is the question? The Tea folks are not racist? As far as I am concerned not only are they racist, almost the entire Republican Party are racist. They have made it their sole purpose to bring the President down (because he happens to be Black) and to go after every African American appointee in Washington. So Mr. Mcconnel, are you calling the kettle black?

    July 28, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. CEvans, Texas

    @ GDMS

    If you are going to post idiotic comments, please learn how to spell!

    July 28, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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