Speed Reads

2020 debates

McConnell laughs in debate when challenger Amy McGrath slams his COVID stimulus 'dereliction'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath, faced off in their first and perhaps only debate Monday night. McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot, criticized McConnell for blocking a new round of COVID-19 economic support, calling it a "dereliction of duty" and failure of leadership. McConnell, oddly, laughed.

McConnell blamed congressional Democrats for blocking another coronavirus relief package, even though he publicly shot down negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House. He also noted that he brings home the bacon in a way McGrath could not from the "back bench" of the Senate. "I allow Kentucky to punch above its weight," McConnell said. "My last term $17.5 billion for the commonwealth that would not have been there had I not been the majority leader of the Senate."

"I think her entire campaign is: she's a Marine, she's a mom, and I've been there (the Senate) too long," McConnell said. McGrath didn't disagree: "Senator, you've been there for 36 years. How's it looking, Kentucky?" McConnell's "one job is to help America through this crisis right now in passing legislation to keep our economy afloat so that people can make ends meet," she added. "And instead of doing that, he is trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now, instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen."

McConnell also took several shots at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — and also President Trump, perhaps, who is famously from New York as well.

The debate was held in the studio of WKYT in Lexington. The station "took a number of precautions in response to the coronavirus," The Associated Press reports. "Kentucky is in the midst of another spike of COVID-19 cases."