Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell says the IRS scandal has finally woken up Americans to the White House’s “effort to intimidate opponents to sit down and shut up.”
In an interview with National Review Online, he says the White House’s attitude is partly to blame for the targeting of tea-party groups. “While I’m certainly not going to say that the president made a phone call to Lois Lerner, it is fact that he and his allies created the culture of intimidation and harassment, and the bureaucracy got the message,” he explains.
In a speech on Friday at the American Enterprise Institute, McConnell will expand on this theme and cast the president and his allies as bullies — “a pretty rough crowd,” he says. It’ll be a reprise of the remarks he made at AEI last year on threats to political speech.
“It’s basically the ‘I told you so’ speech,” McConnell says. “Go back to the scene of the speech in June 2012, when I was warning about abuses at the IRS and other agencies. I was widely kicked around by the Left, who said I made up red herrings. Well, everything I’ve said was going on we now know was going on. They have finally messed with an agency that the American people all understand.”
In the interview, he also said the White House is getting creative in implementing its policies, ”using the regulatory side to do things they can’t do on the legislative side.”