McConnell on Election Security: “We Have Spent the Last Four Years Gearing Up For This”
‘Yesterday evening, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI updated the public on foreign efforts to influence our election and our government’s work to prevent them. They announced that Iran and Russia exploited voter information to send misleading e-mails. This is just another reminder that multiple different adversaries with multiple different objectives want to fuel divisions among Americans and create chaos.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding election security:
“Yesterday evening, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI updated the public on foreign efforts to influence our election and our government’s work to prevent them. They announced that Iran and Russia exploited voter information to send misleading e-mails.
“This is just another reminder that multiple different adversaries with multiple different objectives want to fuel divisions among Americans and create chaos.
“Iran, China, Russia, and other adversaries may have different goals. But they all share the same primary objective of undermining Americans’ confidence in our democracy. And they are thrilled when their disinformation causes us to point fingers at each other, rather than at them.
“The good news is that we have spent the last four years gearing up for this. Unlike the Obama-Biden Administration, on whose watch even Democrats admit we were caught flat-footed, the Trump Administration has worked overtime with Congress and other actors to get us ready.
“The White House has imposed harsh new sanctions on Russians who interfered in 2016. The Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community have led efforts to strengthen and coordinate our defenses.
“Here in the Senate, the Intelligence Committee spent years studying what went wrong in 2016 and published a 1,300-plus-page report with recommendations. In the last two years alone, we’ve passed more than $800 million dollars to fund and support secure elections.
“The Iranian and Russian operations described last night are being combatted by the federal government, in close coordination with state and local officials and the private sector. Details are being shared with Congress and the public as appropriate. This is precisely how this process should work.
“We are miles ahead of where we were. Even the Washington Democrats who have spent years talking up the threats to our election infrastructure are now admitting that we’ve made huge strides.
“Just a few days ago, the junior Senator for Connecticut admitted, quote, ‘we are going to have a free and fair election… because we have spent significant money from the federal government, and through states, to beef up protections of our voter lists and of our voting systems.’ End quote.
“Now, it’s a separate question whether Democrats’ ability to express basic patriotic confidence in our institutions should be so contingent on whether their preferred candidate seems to be up in the polls. But regardless, it is the truth.
“I will close with one point that I keep making. The work of protecting our democracy is not just the job of experts in government buildings. This is also a duty that falls upon every one of us. Every citizen.
“At this point it is a patriotic duty for Americans to be educated consumers of information. Citizens who need information about voting should look to their local official sources. And all of us, on all sides, should take a deep breath and realize that division, disinformation, and chaos are exactly what our adversaries want.
“We’re all in this together. All of us Americans are in this together.”
Related Issues: National Security