Bernie Sanders criticizes Mitch McConnell during Louisville rally

Bernie Sanders held a rally in Louisville on Sunday.
Bernie Sanders held a rally in Louisville on Sunday.
Updated: Aug. 26, 2019 at 1:44 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Senator Bernie Sanders, (D) Vermont, stopped in Louisville Sunday to hold the “People Vs. Corporate Power” rally.

Thousands of supporters filled the Muhammed Ali Center as Sanders spoke out against “corporate power” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

​"I'm not only here to ask for your political support, I am here as a United States Senator to ask Mitch McConnell the Majority Leader of the United States Senate to do the right thing," Sanders said.

>> RELATED STORY: Bevin responds to Bernie Sanders Louisville visit

​Sanders touched on issues like gun safety, climate change, raising the minimum wage.

"McConnell is obstructing, obstructing, obstructing," Sanders said. "He is refusing to allow a vote on any of the bills that have been introduced in the senate or passed in the house to address these crises.

​Sanders called McConnell a coward for not letting the legislation come to the floor and cited McConnell’s billionaire campaign contributors as his main influence.

Hundreds were in attendance at Bernie Sanders spoke in front of the Muhammad Ali Center.
Hundreds were in attendance at Bernie Sanders spoke in front of the Muhammad Ali Center.(Source: WAVE 3 News)

“Ten out of the 25 poorest counties in the country are right here in your state,” Sanders said. “Stop turning your back on your constituents.”

​In a red state with a coal economy, Sanders supporters still believe he could stand a chance. ​

​"If he can connect with the working class people in this state, then he has a shot," Monty Schaffner said.

>> RELATED STORY: Bernie Sanders visits striking AT&T workers in Louisville

​"In his speech, he’s brought in a lot of things he didn’t touch on in the last campaign cycle like talking about ensuring a good future for people working in the fossil fuel industry even as we transfer to clean energy," Cam Whaley said.

Sanders called out Mitch McConnell for what he says is avoidance on issues like gun safety,...
Sanders called out Mitch McConnell for what he says is avoidance on issues like gun safety, climate change and raising the minimum wage.(Source: WAVE 3 News)

​Sanders says his policies on sustainable energy will not hurt, but help coal mining communities like those in Kentucky, although he did not elaborate on how.

​"I am speaking as probably the most pro-worker member of the senate," Sanders said. "Coal miners are not my enemy, workers in the fossil fuel industry are not my enemy, climate change is our enemy."

McConnell's office refers back to these statements the Senate Majority Leader has made in the past on some of these issues:

"Job-killing ideas like a government takeover of healthcare and the “Green New Deal.” Efforts to rig government by packing the Supreme Court, changing election rules for their own benefit, and adding two new states with four Democratic Senators.

These are dangerous ideas. They would raise your taxes and give the federal government vast control over your life. That’s why President Trump and I are fighting hard to stop them. As long as I’m Senate Majority Leader, these socialist schemes will never become law.

Kentucky continues to see the positive results of having President Trump in the White House and me leading the Senate. We’ll keep working together, bringing national attention to Kentucky’s priorities and delivering victories for families in the Commonwealth."

Excerpts from McConnell’s interview on 840 WHAS:

“I don’t want to engage in just finger-pointing or making a point. What’s happened after every one of these shootings is there’s been a temptation to just engage in political discourse rather than passing something.”

“And so I’ve tasked three of my committee chairmen with talking not only to their own members (of our party) but the Democrats as well. We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions. And when we get back, hopefully, be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law, not just see this kind of political sparring going on endlessly which never produces a result.”

“…we’re going to begin these discussions over the August break and when we get back (in September), hopefully we’ll be in a position to agree on things on a bipartisan basis and go forward and make a law.”

“(if we called Congress back in August)….we’d just have people scoring political points and nothing would happen. There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on.”

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