Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 84° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

McConnell warns biz off political speech, says it’s ‘stupid’

UPDATED: Tue., April 6, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens to a reporters question during a press conference at a COVID vaccination site in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 5, 2021.  (Timothy D. Easley)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens to a reporters question during a press conference at a COVID vaccination site in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 5, 2021. (Timothy D. Easley)
By Lisa Mascaro Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday “it’s quite stupid” for corporations to speak out politically, intensifying his warnings for big business to stand down as Congress delves into voting rights, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package and other defining issues.

Speaking in Kentucky, the GOP leader said he still wants companies to give freely to political campaigns. But as lawmakers wrestle with big issues, he warned CEOs off the kinds of public statements made by Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball in opposition to Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws.

“It’s quite stupid to jump in the middle of a highly controversial issue,” he told reporters.

“Republicans drink Coca-Cola too, and we fly and we like baseball,” he said. “It’s irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.”

The colorful language from the typically reserved Republican leader shows the dilemma ahead for the party in the post-Trump era. Many Trump-styled lawmakers are bucking big business and leaning more heavily into the populist, working-class themes championed by the former president — even as they rely on deep-pocketed business donors to fuel their political campaigns.

By wading into the debate, McConnell is situating himself in the emerging culture wars with the progressive groups that are pressuring business not to sit silently on voting rights, gun violence and other big issues before Congress.

Congress will take center stage in many of these battles, the Senate in particular, as Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package and other priorities head for votes.

“They have the right to participate in the political process,” McConnell told reporters. But he said, “If I were running a major corporation, I’d stay out of politics.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.