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Reporter Asks McConnell How Many Black Women Are on His Staff—and Things Got Awkward

Reporter Asks McConnell How Many Black Women Are on His Staff—and Things Got Awkward

With the impending retirement of Clinton-appointed Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, President Joe Biden reiterated his 2020 campaign promise to appoint the first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court.

Predictably, conservatives of all stripes from Senator Susan Collins of Maine to Ted Cruz of Tex condemned the pledge, baselessly claiming it could rule out the "best" candidate (there is no calculation to deduce the best candidate for a Supreme Court position, as it is the prerogative of the sitting President to nominate their preferred candidate). This is despite Republican presidents—from Reagan to Trump—making similar vows to appoint a woman to the bench.

During a presser this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who cautioned Biden not to "outsource this important decision to the radical left"—took questions during a presser for Republican Senators.

Latino Rebels correspondent Pablo Manríquez asked McConnell how many Black women were on his staff, advising him regarding Biden's commitment.

The Senate Minority Leader said he couldn't hear the question, but finally answered on the third time it was asked.

McConnell responded:

"I haven't checked. We don't have a racial quota in my office, but I've had a number of African American employees—both male and female—over the years, in all kinds of different positions, including speechwriter."

The question wasn't about a "racial quota" or even McConnell's hiring practices. It was a question of who's guiding McConnell's approach to the first nomination of a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and whether any of these counselors were Black women themselves.

McConnell has a history of upending Senate consideration of Supreme Court nominees. In 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, McConnell infamously refused to let the Senate even consider a nomination of then-President Barack Obama's, preferring instead to ignore the President's and Senate's constitutional duties and keep a Supreme Court seat open for an entire year. After Trump was elected, McConnell led a successful effort to nuke the Senate filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, resulting in the confirmation of now-Justice Neil Gorsuch. Thanks to McConnell, Republicans successfully stole a seat on the Supreme Court.

The Senate Minority Leader's comments come less than two weeks after McConnell dismissed claims of racist voting laws in the U.S. by saying "African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans," implying that Black Americans were separate from "Americans."

People weren't satisfied with McConnell's latest answer to Manríquez.

Though McConnell said he hasn't checked, some had the feeling they knew the answer.

Biden has said he will announce his nominee before the end of this month.