Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that voters in Virginia and New Jersey sent national Democrats a very clear message on Election Night: “Stop!”
“I think what we can safely say about New Jersey and to some extent in Virginia, it was a referendum on the popularity of the Biden administration and what they’re trying to do,” McConnell told Fox News’ “The Story.”
His comments come a day after Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia’s gubernatorial race, while New Jersey GOPer Jack Ciattarelli trailed incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy by less than a percentage point with nearly 90 percent of the expected vote counted.
“I would argue that had they already passed this reckless [$1.75 trillion] tax-and-spending bill, they’d have lost worse,” McConnell said. “I think what the American people are saying [is] ‘Don’t do that. Don’t double down on taxation and spending.’ The American people have had enough of all of this excess and I think they sent a message yesterday: Stop! Stop! That’s the message that should be taken by the Democrats out of yesterday’s elections.”
In addition to their better-than-expected showing in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, Republicans were on track to take control of Virginia’s House of Delegates and win the commonwealth’s other two statewide offices of lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Despite the election outcomes, McConnell admitted that Democrats were likely to double down on the massive spending plan.
“I think [Nancy] Pelosi and [Chuck] Schumer and the president will argue that what people are really saying is, ‘Why don’t you get this done?’ I think that’s a misinterpretation of what happened yesterday,” he said.
“I don’t think it was about the Democrats’ failure to do it, I think it was because people didn’t like that they were trying to do it. And getting a result on this massive, reckless tax-and-spending bill is not gonna improve their position with the American people.”
Wednesday afternoon, the House Rules Committee released a 2,135-page version of the social spending bill, officially known as the Build Back Better Act. House Democrats are optimistic that a vote will take place sometime this week, but McConnell pointed out that the real balance of power resides with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
“Manchin and Sinema will determine the composition of the final vote, no matter what the House passes,” the minority leader said. “If there’s a final vote, the parameters of that will be set by Manchin and Sinema … They will be able to determine what it finally looks like. I think the best advice I can give them politically [is] after yesterday, they ought to drop the whole thing.”
McConnell also praised Youngkin’s campaign strategy of keeping former President Donald Trump at arm’s length as the Republican sought to win back suburban voters who had been turned off by the previous commander-in-chief.
“I think it’s a good model,” he said. “Voters are voting about things that are happening now.”
“I think Republicans are happy to have President Trump’s support,” McConnell added, “but in the end, we’re going to be running with our own people and our own positions and focusing on the ’22 election and the referendum that we’re going to have a year from now on the performance of the Biden administration.”