Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned and praised a “mob” of activists opposed to just-confirmed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, telling reporters they terrorized lawmakers while firing up the GOP base.
“We stood up for the presumption of innocence,” McConnell told reporters after the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh by a vote of 50-48.
“We refused to be intimidated by the mob of people that came after Republican members at their homes and in the halls.”
Kavanaugh was confirmed as thousands of protesters crowded the streets around the Capitol and the Supreme Court, most of them opponents of Kavanaugh, who is poised to tilt the court in a conservative direction.
In the days leading up to the vote, protesters crowded into Senate office buildings and swarmed lawmakers in an effort to pressure them to vote against Kavanaugh. Some protesters showed up at the homes of lawmakers or shouted them out of restaurants.
But McConnell said the activism “certainly had a good impact for us,” citing a bump in GOP enthusiasm, which had been lagging ahead of the critical November midterm elections.
McConnell credited the “mob” and the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats who led the attempt to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“We are pretty excited,” McConnell said. “They managed to deliver the only thing we hadn’t figured out how to do, which is get our side fired up.”
McConnell said he’s not concerned the Senate or the nation will be permanently divided after the bitter battle to confirm Kavanaugh.
“The Senate and the country will get past this,” McConnell said. “We always do.”