McConnell backs away from warning businesses to stay out of politics

Source: The Hill | April 7, 2021 | Alexander Bolton

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday backed off his stern warning that companies such as Major League Baseball, Delta and Coca-Cola should stay out of high-profile political fights after they criticized Georgia’s new election law.

“I didn’t say that very artfully yesterday. They’re certainly entitled to be involved in politics. They are. My principal complaint is they didn’t read the darn bill,” McConnell said Wednesday at a press conference in Paducah, Kentucky.

The GOP leader softened his tough talk from earlier in the week, when he warned that companies would face “serious consequences” if they become “a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country.”

He warned that “businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.” 

“I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” McConnell said Monday at a press conference in his home state. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”

He doubled down on his warning to corporate America on Tuesday when he said “it’s quite stupid” for major companies “to jump in the middle of a highly controversial issue.” 

He warned that companies risked losing business, pointing out that “Republicans drink Coca-Cola too, and we fly, and we like baseball.”

He said criticism of the new Georgia election law is “irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.” 

McConnell’s warning to companies to “stay out of politics” prompted a double take by members of the media who cover McConnell and proponents of campaign finance reform because the GOP leader has raised millions of dollars from corporate PACs and donors during his long career.

And he’s led the fight against restrictions on corporate political spending for years.   

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