There was a chance that Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, would lose his re-election campaign in Kentucky, but not a very good one. Despite actually laughing at critiques of his mishandling of the pandemic, he still became one of the first major winners of Election Night, with most outlets calling his win over Democratic challenger Amy McGrath relatively early on, paving the path for his seventh term in the U.S. Senate. What many perhaps didn’t expect is that he would have the brass to invoke no less than Martin Luther King Jr. in his victory speech. But that’s exactly what he did.
In his victory speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invokes MLK: “When I witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington speech … I dreamed about doing big things …” #election2020 pic.twitter.com/0m9N9S9NW5
— The Recount (@therecount) November 4, 2020
“When I witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington speech as an intern in 1963, I dreamed about doing big things to help my state and our country,” McConnell told the crowd, with zero apparent sense of shame or care that his words could go viral, and not in a good way. “I never imagined Kentuckyians would make me the longest-serving senator in our state’s history.”
McConnell’s statement, naturally, had a lot of detractors. Among the most prominent? King’s youngest daughter, Berenice King. The minister and CEO of The King Center, wasn’t having it, and she was quick to make her thoughts known over social media.
“But my father’s dream was to create the #BelovedCommunity, in part by eradicating #racism, #militarism and #poverty. Certainly not by denying #healthcare to human beings or by separating Brown immigrant children from their parents,” King wrote over Twitter, adding the hashtags “#TripleEvils #BigThings #BeLove”
King wasn’t the only one horrified and disgusted by McConnell’s words.
I can’t even… https://t.co/Ly2Bbebwev
— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) November 4, 2020
He needs to keep MLK out his fucking mouth. #Election2020 https://t.co/3k9k1nQiE9
— 𝐵𝑒𝒸𝒸𝒶 (@MJFINESSELOVER) November 4, 2020
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 4, 2020
McConnell, who’s 78, defeated McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot who challenged him as a political outsider. As of this writing, there’s still a chance McConnell will no longer be the Senate Majority Leader.