The group “Republicans for the Rule of Law” is now targeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) with TV ads in his home state.
In the 60-second ad, images of Sen. McConnell are shown along with a narrator describing how he’s consistently refused to allow a vote on the Senate floor on legislation to safeguard American elections from foreign intervention. According to Newsweek, the ads are being aired in Washington, DC and Kentucky, where McConnell is running for re-election in 2020.
“We can’t count on Trump for election security,” conservative commentator Bill Kristol, who founded the group, tweeted. “And Mitch McConnell is blocking the Senate from even considering bipartisan election security legislation. Enough.”
We can't count on Trump for election security. And Mitch McConnell is blocking the Senate from even considering bipartisan election security legislation. Enough. This ad from @ForTheRuleOfLaw is on the air in DC and KY. pic.twitter.com/RdbmIcRaNy
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 8, 2019
Earlier this year, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, but that Russians attempted to access voting systems in all 50 states. The report compiled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and published in mid-2019 found that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election specifically to help Donald Trump win and help Hillary Clinton lose.
Despite the conclusions by U.S. intelligence and by Mueller, President Trump has shrugged off concerns that the same type of interference could take place in 2020. In the TV ads the group is running, video of President Trump is played in which he responds to a question about Mueller’s warning that Russians are currently working to interfere in the 2020 election by saying, “you don’t really believe [this], do you really believe this?”
The TV ads also show President Trump appearing to invite foreign election interference in 2020. One clip in the ad shows Trump talking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office, saying he would “like to hear” any information offered if a foreign government approached him with something that could help him get re-elected 2020.
Roughly a month afterward, Trump hinted that he would fire Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats — the administration official who has perhaps most loudly been sounding the alarm about foreign interference in American elections. Coats eventually stepped down a few weeks afterward, and was scheduled to be replaced by Trump loyalist Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), who had no prior intelligence experience. Ratcliffe eventually withdrew his name from consideration after he was subjected to further scrutiny by Congress and the media.
Sen. McConnell’s office did not return a request for comment.
(Featured image: Republicans for the Rule of Law/Bill Kristol/Twitter)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.