Speed Reads


McConnell compares the U.S. Capitol to Kabul, says security measures are 'overdone'

It was just two months ago that a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, some carrying weapons, others chanting, "Where are you Nancy?" and "Hang Mike Pence!" In response, enhanced security measures were put in place to protect lawmakers, but this is all too much for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

"We've overdone it," McConnell told reporters on Wednesday. "I'm extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can't come to the Capitol. There's all this razor wire around the complex. It reminds me of my last visit to Kabul."

Threats are still coming in from extremists targeting individual politicians, as well as President Biden, with acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman telling lawmakers last month that militia members are threatening to blow up the Capitol during his first State of the Union address. Capitol Police requested that 2,000 National Guard troops remain on guard at the complex, and the Pentagon on Tuesday extended their deployment for another two months.

In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tasked retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré with reviewing security measures, and earlier this week he recommended installing a retractable fence and creating mounted police units and a quick response force to mobilize during emergencies.

"Do we need some changes? We probably do," McConnell told reporters. "[But] it looks pretty terrible to have the beacon of our democracy surrounded by razor wire." During the Jan. 6 riot, it also looked pretty terrible when Capitol Police officers were beaten with pipes, a man carried the Confederate battle flag into the Capitol, and a makeshift gallows with noose was set up outside.