Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has appeared to walk back his pointed criticism of Major League Baseball (MLB) and other companies that expressed outward opposition to Georgia’s new election security law.
According to The Hill, the minority leader had previously said there would be “serious consequences” for companies who become “a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country.”
“I didn’t say that very artfully yesterday,” McConnell clarified at a press conference Wednesday, according to The Hill. “They’re certainly entitled to be involved in politics. They are.”
McConnell added that his “principal complaint” is that companies including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola “didn’t read the darn bill” before fanning the flames of a boycott of the Peach State.
MLB pulls out
The “darn bill” that McConnell is referring to is S.B. 202, Georgia’s newest voting integrity law designed to prevent fraud in future elections, including by requiring voters casting absentee ballots to provide some sort of identification.
Democrats, for their part, have labeled the bill reminiscent of Jim Crow and said it amounts to voter suppression. Buying into the hype, the MLB responded to the law’s passing by announcing it would move its upcoming All-Star Game and player draft out of Atlanta, the Peach State’s capital.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” the league said in a statement, according to Breitbart.
“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” the MLB’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, later said.
McConnell pulls back
The remarks from the MLB and others left McConnell fuming — at least at first.
“Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” McConnell said earlier this week, according to Breitbart. “It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves.”
McConnell also said Tuesday that it was “quite stupid” for these corporations “to jump in the middle of a highly controversial issue,” as Breitbart reported. “Republicans drink Coca-Cola too, and we fly and we like baseball,” the senator said. “It’s irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.”
On Wednesday, however, McConnell took his foot off the gas. It remains unclear what changed, but as The Hill points out, the minority leader “has raised millions of dollars from corporate PACs and donors during his long career.” Maybe that had something to do with it.