CNN’s Jim Acosta revived an old moniker of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Sunday when he referred to the Republican leader as “cocaine Mitch.”
The nickname came from his former Republican primary opponent Don Blankenship, who quoted a 2014 article in The Nation magazine talking about 40 kilograms of cocaine that was found on a cargo ship owned by McConnell’s wife’s family. McConnell made jokes about it and sold t-shirts saying “Cocaine Mitch.” It’s still unclear why it’s funny, however.
Acosta was talking about a recent interview that McConnell did with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan. McConnell was asked about where his “moral red lines” are given he has played such ruthless politics in the past.
“I’m perfectly comfortable with the way I’ve conducted my political career,” said McConnell after joking that his wife thinks he’s special. It took several minutes for McConnell to come up with the answer after fumbling around with jokes.
“You said Donald Trump’s actions preceding the Jan. 6 insurrection were ‘a disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and that he was ‘practically and morally responsible’ ― your words ― ‘for provoking the events of that day,'” Swan told the senator. “How do you go from saying that to, two weeks later, saying you’d absolutely support Donald Trump if he’s the Republican nominee in 2024?”
McConnell said that it didn’t matter and that he would support Trump if he was the GOP nominee: “I say many things I’m sure many people don’t understand.”
“I was going to say, his nickname, people like to say his nickname is cocaine Mitch. Not moral McConnell,” said Acosta.
Conservative Margaret Hoover noted that answers like that should be expected from McConnell.
“Well, I’m sorry, I’m not going to have a deeply satisfying answer for anyone. What we know is Mitch McConnell doesn’t answer questions he doesn’t want to engage with,” said Hoover. “And for Mitch McConnell, you know, that hypothetical question doesn’t get him anything.”
Hoover went on to criticize McConnell’s claim that he doesn’t have any power in picking the GOP nominee.
“The real truth is when he said I don’t get to pick the GOP nominee, he might have had a say in it if he had whipped 17 Republican Senators to join with Democrats and vote to convict,” she said, recalling Trump’s 2020 impeachment vote, which would have blocked him from taking office again. “But he didn’t do that. And he did go to the floor and call it morally reprehensible. He hasn’t gone back on that. But he gains nothing by engaging in this back and forth with Swan, so he doesn’t. He is responsible to his voters in Kentucky, who, by the way love Trump, and he is responsible for his majority in the senate. I’m not surprised that McConnell didn’t choose to engage in that question. But it’s not satisfying for you, for me, for those of us who would like to see a stronger stance.”