Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that calling the new voting law in Georgia racist is a “big lie,” and added a warning to big business to “stay out of politics” after several major corporations based in the southern state have distanced themselves from the state, and Major League Baseball moved its all-star game out of Atlanta.
McConnell also slammed President Joe Biden’s statement calling the bill a return to Jim Crow-era restrictions in the south, aimed at making it more difficult for black Americans to vote.
McConnell told reporters that “it’s simply not true.”
McConnell’s warning to big business not to get involved illustrates the spotlight progressives are putting on corporations to live up to their values as Congress takes on issues like voting rights and gun violence.
While McConnell has been among the more outspoken champions of big money in elections, often promoting the flow of undisclosed dollars to campaigns as Constitution-protected free speech, many companies have temporarily halted giving to Republicans after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Speaking to Kentuckians on Monday, McConnell reiterated that he believes it’s simply “not accurate” to say the Georgia measure is making it more difficult for anyone to vote.
McConnell added that he didn’t care for Biden’s criticism of the law, noting Biden’s claims had been fact-checked as false:
“The President has claimed repeatedly that state-level debates over voting procedures are worse than Jim Crow or ‘Jim Crow on steroids.’ Nobody actually believes this. Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation.”
McConnell also criticized the Georgia based corporations for being against the bill:
“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves.”
On Thursday, Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp locked himself in his office surrounded by a circle of white men and signed Republican-sponsored legislation that suppresses the Black vote and gives Kemp and his allies even greater control over the elections.
“Among highlights, the law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Kemp did not waste a moment signing the legislation. It was on his desk with his signature in less than two hours after it passed by a vote of 100-75 in the Georgia House and 34-20 in the Senate.
“We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights, unlike anything we’ve seen since the Jim Crow era,” state Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler.
State Rep. Park Cannon believed that if Kemp was going to sign the legislation it should not be behind closed doors as he live-streamed the signing. So, she knocked on his office door. Georgia state troopers arrested Cannon for knocking on the door and dragged her through the Capitol to a police car. As Cannon was put in the backseat of the police car the person, who committed the real crime was still live streaming.
Cannon has been charged with obstruction of law enforcement and “disrupting General Assembly sessions, according to the Georgia State Patrol. She was released on bond on Thursday.
“She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians—why would he hide behind closed doors? This isn’t a monarchy,” Tamara Stevens, an activist who was there when Cannon was arrested, stated. “You have a woman of color fighting for the rights of Georgians and they arrested her for knocking on the door because she wanted to witness our governor sign the bill.”
Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s newest senator, who is also a pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, stated that violent insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol avoided arrest on Jan. 6, yet a Georgia state legislator was arrested for knocking on a door in her workplace.
“Today is a very sad day for the state of Georgia,” he said. “What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lockout and squeeze the people out of their own democracy.”
“Georgians turned out in record-breaking numbers because they could access the ballot,” Democratic Rep. Rhonda Burnough said. “Lies upon lies were told about our elections in response, and now this bill is before we built on those same lies.”
Later in the day Cannon turned to Twitter and shared the impact the arrest had on her and what her supporters can expect next.
“Hey everyone, thank you for your support. I’ve been released from jail. I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true,” she tweeted on Friday.
“Who — and what — are they protecting when they work this hard to suppress our vote.”