The Slatest

Watch Protesters Interrupt McConnell With “Moscow Mitch” Chants at Kentucky Event

Mitch McConnell.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in D.C. on July 31.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went home to Kentucky but he couldn’t escape the “Moscow Mitch” taunts. McConnell isn’t usually bothered by criticism, but the nickname “Moscow Mitch,” which stems from his refusal to take on legislation to protect the nation’s electoral system from foreign attacks, has really gotten to him, and his opponents are trying to make sure it follows him everywhere. During his speech at an annual gathering known as “Fancy Farm” and described as Kentucky’s premier political event, protesters frequently broke out into chants of “Moscow Mitch.”

Even though it is widely known that he’s bothered by the nickname, which was coined by Joe Scarborough but quickly spread like wildfire, McConnell did his best to ignore the demonstrators on Saturday. “I’m going to spend as much time talking about [Democrats] as Kentuckians will voting for them this November—none,” McConnell said. Instead, the Senate majority leader patted himself on the back, claiming he “saved the Supreme Court for a generation.”

Demonstrators were wearing T-shirts and carrying posters with the words “Moscow Mitch” featuring a hammer and sickle. McConnell pushed back against the taunts by saying it was appropriate for Democrats to display Communist symbols. “It’s appropriate to see a bunch of Democrats running around with Communist flags on their shirts,” the senator told reporters. “That ought to tell you something about where they want to take the country with the Green New Deal and ‘Medicare for All.’ Their whole agenda would fundamentally change the country with something it’s never been.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party has been making a pretty penny with its “Moscow Mitch” merchandise, including a T-shirt featuring McConnell in a Cossack hat with the hammer and sickle symbol and the words, “Just say Nyet to Moscow Mitch.” The Kentucky Democratic Party has sold $350,000 worth of Moscow Mitch merchandise since Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

For now at least it doesn’t seem the nickname is going anywhere, especially because it has now been turned into a song courtesy of Ben Folds. During a performance Thursday, the singer-songwriter set the nickname to music. “It’s going to be an instrumental piece here, like the song ‘Tequila,’ ” he explained to the audience. “For this song, what I want to do is put a little cool stutter in it, like, you know, ‘My-my-my-my-my-my Sharona,’ that kind of thing, right? So what we’ll do is we’ll go, ‘Mah-mah-mah-Moscow Mitch.’ ”