Tags: Coronavirus | pete king | mcconnell | state bailout | marie antoinette | gop

Tension in GOP as Pete King Calls McConnell 'Marie Antoinette'

peter king at a podium speaking wearing a suit and red polka dot tie
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. (House Television via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 23 April 2020 08:42 AM

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his remark that cash-strapped states should consider bankruptcy rather than have lawmakers send them federal bailout money as the coronavirus pandemic affects revenue.

Following McConnell's remarks on "The Hugh Hewitt Show," King used a historical reference to describe the Kentucky Republican.

"McConnell's dismissive remark that States devastated by Coronavirus should go bankrupt rather than get the federal assistance they need and deserve is shameful and indefensible. To say that it is 'free money' to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate," King wrote in a two-part tweet Wednesday evening.

Antoinette served as queen of France from 1774-1792. In 1793 during the French Revolution, she was executed by guillotine. During her reign, however, she is reported to have said "Let them eat cake" when someone commented to her that peasants did not have any bread — a food that made up a sizable portion of their diet.

McConnell told Hewitt, "I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. … My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don't have to do that. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of."

He said more on the subject during an interview on Fox News, arguing that states should not get bailout money even if they are struggling with the pandemic.

"We're not interested in solving their pension problems and all these other things that they would like for us to finance," he said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the National Governors Association sent a letter to congressional leaders in which they requested $500 billion to help pay for state programs. The money is needed, they argued, because revenues have declined during the COVID-19 crisis.

King was not the only Republican to take offense to McConnell's statements.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, appeared to deliver a veiled shot at the majority leader in a Wednesday afternoon tweet: "The skyrocketing unemployment rate and subsequent decline in tax revenue has left local gov'ts stretched to the limit. As I told Ohio's county commissioners on our call this morning, I'm working w/ my colleagues to secure additional and more flexible funding."

Democrats also criticized McConnell for his comments, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — whose states have the highest number of virus cases and deaths — both criticizing the longtime lawmaker.

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Politics
Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his remark that cash-strapped states should consider bankruptcy rather than have lawmakers send them federal bailout money as the coronavirus pandemic affects revenue. Following McConnell's...
pete king, mcconnell, state bailout, marie antoinette, gop
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2020-42-23
Thursday, 23 April 2020 08:42 AM
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