Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday it was “stupid enough” for business to speak out against the, stepping up its warnings for big business to pull out as Congress looks at President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package and other defining issues.
Speaking in Kentucky, the GOP leader said businesses can still participate in the political process and freely donate to political campaigns. But as lawmakers grapple with big problems, he warned CEOs against the kind of public statements made by Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball in opposition to Georgia’s new voting law that Democrats and others see it as too restrictive.
“It’s pretty stupid to jump in the middle of a very controversial issue,” he told reporters.
“Republicans drink Coca-Cola too, and we fly and we love baseball,” he said. “It’s annoying for a lot of Republican fans.”
The colorful language of the generally reserved Republican leader shows the dilemma that awaits the party in the post-Trump era. Many Trump-style lawmakers oppose big business and lean more into the populist working-class themes championed by the former president – even as they rely on deep-pocketed commercial donors to fuel their political campaigns.
Wading through the debate, McConnell positions himself in the emerging culture wars on the opposite side of progressive groups who are lobbying business not to remain silent 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 move towards votes in a divided chamber in 50 against 50 depending on the party.
“They have the right to participate in the political process,” McConnell told reporters. But he said, “If I was running a big company, I would stay out of politics.”