Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) explained that he inadvertently omitted a word in a remark about Black voters that sparked a massive backlash.

The backlash emerged online after McConnell last Wednesday responded to a question asking if color voters would be negatively impacted if Democrats’ sweeping election voting bill did not pass. He answered at the time, “Well, the concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

Many people criticized him for implying Black people are not Americans.

According to The Hill, McConnell’s comments in D.C. sparked backlash online, including from Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  

Starting a press conference in Kentucky on Friday, McConnell said he wanted to tap the opportunity “to address the outrageous characterization of my history and record on voting rights and race relations.” 

McConnell clarified that he inadvertently left out the word “all” before the word “Americans” in the sentence he spoke in D.C. earlier in the week. He also hit back at criticisms of his record.

“This outrageous characterization of my record as a result of leaving one word out inadvertently the other day, which I just now have supplied to you, is deeply offensive,” McConnell said.

The Senate GOP leader said that he was in attendance for the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, supported Kentucky’s first Black attorney general Daniel Cameron, and has had Black staffers. 

“I’ve never been accused of this sort of thing before, it’s hurtful and offensive and I think some of the critics know it’s totally nonsense,” he said.

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