McConnell says Biden speech was 'incoherent, incorrect and beneath his office'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered a blistering rebuke of President BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE's speech in Georgia, in which the president pushed for voting rights and changing the legislative filibuster, saying that it was "abandoning rational persuasion for pure demagoguery."

"Look, I've known, liked and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday. ... The president's rant, rant, yesterday was incoherent, incorrect and beneath his office," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

"Yesterday, with the world's largest megaphone, he invoked the literal Civil War and said we are on the doorstep of autocracy. Talked about domestic enemies. Rhetoric unbecoming of a president of the United States," he added. 


McConnell's remarks come a day after Biden traveled to Georgia to make a high-profile case for Senate Democrats changing the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation to advance, in order to pass election and voting legislation. Republicans have blocked three such bills over the past year. 

Biden, as part of his speech, framed the fight over voting rights as a matter of historical significance, suggesting lawmakers must decide whether they want to “be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis,” referencing the former U.S. president and the president of the Confederacy, respectively.

McConnell and Biden served together when Biden was in the Senate and cut deals together during the Obama administration when Biden was vice president. 

But Biden, speaking in Georgia, argued that while he was an institutionalist, the Senate was broken. McConnell fired back on Wednesday, arguing that Biden got a mandate to "bridge a divided country, lower the temperature and dial down the perpetual air of crisis in our politics." 

"President Biden has chosen to fail his own test," McConnell added.  


Biden will meet with Senate Democrats on Thursday to again push them to pass voting rights legislation and change the legislative filibuster. To do that, they'll need total unity from all 50 Democratic senators, something they don't yet have. But Democrats view voting rights and legislation to overhaul federal elections as must-pass items as GOP-controlled state legislatures enact new voting rules in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, which former President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE has falsely claimed was "stolen."  

Democrats haven’t yet landed on a filibuster reform proposal as around-the-clock negotiations continue amongst members of the caucus. One option includes moving to a talking filibuster, where opponents could delay the bill for as long as they could hold the floor, but legislation would ultimately be able to pass with a simple majority. They are also mulling a carveout that would exempt voting rights legislation from needing 60 votes to advance.   

As part of their efforts to sway Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinLawmaker arrested amid voting rights protest says he'd 'do it again' No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaLawmaker arrested amid voting rights protest says he'd 'do it again' These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way MORE (D-Ariz.), who are holdouts on voting to change the rules along party lines, Democrats are warning that the state-based laws could mean that Democrats lose reelection.  

"They're saying things like I'll lose my election if the legislature is allowed to do this in my state, we'll lose our majority," Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure Voting rights and Senate wrongs MORE (D-N.Y.) said during an interview Wednesday with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."