Joy Reid highlighted how Sen. Mitch McConnell is far more interested in preserving and extending the life of his conservative ideology than the lives of Americans under siege from the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 23, 2020

While the rest of us watch the COVID-19 disaster roll over every single community in America, Reid said, McConnell “has been on his very own page.” He has pushed through eight judges since the pandemic began in the U.S. but he and his Republican colleagues have shrugged off the latest relief bill from House Democrats as “dead on arrival.”

Guest Norm Ornstein perfectly summed up McConnell’s game plan. Spoiler alert: It’s not about promoting a culture of life for anyone no longer a fetus:

ORNSTEIN: The Capitol physician two weeks ago warned Congress not to come back because of the danger to the members, the staffs and all the people around them and their families. The House stayed away, prudently. McConnell brought everybody back, dangerously to jam through those judges. And we know why.

You have a Republican Party which is on the wrong end of demographic history which is destroying its own opportunity to build a larger base by this loyalty to Trump. And what they believe is that if they can suppress votes and get in judges, mostly young ones who will be there for 30, 40 or 50 years, after voters have rejected them, with more and more power going to the judiciary, that they can extend their hold even as the American people don't want the policies that they promote. And that's McConnell's goal and now, having brought them back recklessly, he's had them leave town before they could act on the most important things that Americans need to have in the midst of this pandemic, with more and more people out of work and hungry.

What's even worse, Reid pointed out, is that while McConnell blocked Obama’s judges he is now ramming through unqualified ideologues, all the while ignoring Donald Trump’s obvious mishandling of the pandemic. She cited as an example Justin Walker, a 38-year-old McConnell protegé who had never practiced law at a private firm, never tried a case as a defense attorney or prosecutor and had never served as a judge in any state or local court.

The other guest, Vanita Gupta, head of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, also hit the nail on the head.

GUPTA: [O]ne of things that I think is also -- adds kind of fuel to the fire of outrage right now is that Justin Walker's position doesn't even become vacant until September. So you’ve got a situation where Senate Republicans are basically pushing through judicial nominations at a time when there is a global pandemic.

The unemployment rate is reaching 20%, you’ve got jobless claims at nearly 39 million and the House of Representatives passed this comprehensive, sweeping package in the HEROES Act last week and what is Senator McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham doing this week? They're advancing these kinds of judges who have very blatant anti-civil rights, anti-health care, they’re trying, seeking to dismantle the ACA.

Gupta also reminded us that in the early days of the pandemic, McConnell recessed the Senate and stalled a COVID-19 relief bill so he could attend the investiture of his protegé in Kentucky.

People need to express their outrage, she added, over the Senate Republicans’ priorities while “this country is so much in need and communities are in such pain.”

Amen to that. We've got lots of ways to express your outrage here.

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