‘My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations … so they don’t have to do that…’
Except, he never actually said that.
The liberal fact-checking website PolitiFact recently debunked the oft-repeated allegation. It clarified that McConnell was opposed to taxpayer bailouts for financially irresponsible cities and states with unsustainable government pension debts and other longstanding problems that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.
A series of media hit-pieces pegged McConnell’s supposed comments to an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available,” McConnell said in the interview.
“My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of,” he added.
Despite the clear distinction, story after story has framed McConnell as a ruthless partisan who would rather see coronavirus-stricken cities and states implode rather than offer a helping hand.
The narrative drumbeat has also given license to elected officials and general election candidates in battleground states to repeat the dishonest claim—all while presenting a $3 trillion stimulus wish-list proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the solution.
Pelosi’s plan centers on sending $1 trillion to financially troubled cities and states, almost all of which are Democratic strongholds.
Some, such as California, have explicitly announced their intention to provide subsidies to illegal immigrants, among other questionable funding priorities.
But leftist spin-doctors aimed to flip the script and accuse McConnell of the very thing for which they stand guilty.
In The Atlantic, NeverTrump writer David Frum penned an article titled, “Why Mitch McConnell Wants States to Go Bankrupt,” in which he claimed McConnell was “prioritizing the Republican Party rather than the American people during this crisis.”
“States need help. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not want to provide it,” Frum wrote.
He also championed New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for blasting McConnell’s non-existent position as “dumb,” “irresponsible” and “petty.”
“That’s how you’re going to bring this national economy back? By states declaring bankruptcy? You want to see that market fall through the cellar? … I mean, if there’s ever a time for humanity and decency, now is the time,” said Cuomo.
Prior to the Wuhan virus, New York was already facing its biggest budget shortfall in a decade.
Similarly, the lead paragraph in a Politico article, titled, “McConnell pushes ‘bankruptcy route’ as local governments struggle,” stated that the GOP leader was insisting that coronavirus-plagued “state and local governments should be able to ‘use the bankruptcy route’ rather than receive aid from the federal government.”
Mitch McConnell said he wanted states to go bankrupt instead of the federal government providing relief. Today, Thom Tillis agreed.
Communities around North Carolina are hurting, and we deserve a Senator who will fight for the resources they need. https://t.co/JCxbTjgGjU
— Cal Cunningham (@CalforNC) April 24, 2020
He also used the opportunity to misrepresent his opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, who also opposes using coronavirus relief funding to bailout underfunded public employee pensions.
“Today, Thom Tillis agreed. Communities around North Carolina are hurting, and we deserve a Senator who will fight for the resources they need,” Cunningham wrote.
For good measure, Reuters erroneously reported that McConnell “opened the door to allowing U.S. states to file for bankruptcy to deal with economic losses stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.”