McConnell addresses national issues before Rotary Club

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Jun. 8—School shootings, mental illness and school safety are weighing on the minds of most Americans, and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell touched on those topics during a visit to London on Wednesday.

McConnell was the guest speaker at the London Rotary Club meeting — available during a break in the House and Senate sessions.

McConnell, who has been pinpointed as the head of Republican opposition to gun control, said he supported the 2nd Amendment which allows citizens "to keep and bear arms." He said he favored a bipartisan effort to address those issues

"I encourage bipartisan talks to find a way to move forward with actions consistent with the 2nd Amendment," he told the crowd of over 150 people present for the meeting.

He said that the continued shootings at schools were comprised of two key elements — mental illness and school safety.

McConnell also said the situation in Ukraine prompted him to visit Kiev recently, and said the situation with Russia invading Ukraine was something that needed to be dealt with immediately.

"Since the invasion on Feb. 24, Putin has said he's just conducting exercises. If you have 200,000 troops on the border, it is not just exercises," McConnell said. "That's why we put together a $40 billion package for Ukraine. This problem is much bigger than just Ukraine if we don't stop them."

McConnell said there is opposition to assisting or being involved with the Ukrainian situation.

"This is extremely important. The problem is going to get dramatically worse if we don't deal with it," he said. "We're just helping them and let the Ukrainians decide what they want to do. I think they want their country back."

He added that he admired McDonald's restaurant chain for boycotting Russia by closing their stores, saying, "McDonald's took all 900 stores out of Russia."

McConnell then moved on to talk about the Biden administration, stating there was very little he liked about the direction of the leadership.

"Biden said he was a 'moderate' but this has been a hard left administration."

"There have been judicial appointments that I can't support. But the biggest mistake was putting together a $2 trillion rescue plan," he said. "That was a huge mistake — now we're seeing massive inflation — the worst in 40 years. Even one of Obama's former advisors disagreed with that."

McConnell said he realized that many local governments are receiving funding from that package, but told local officials here that he "didn't vote for it" because he knew the long-term effects would be more devastating to the overall economy.

Due to that, the country is seeing rising prices, coupled with a lack of workforce to fill jobs. McConnell said he understood why many families were not actively seeking jobs due to the government assistance provided to them that nets more than they would earn on a job.

He commented on the high gas prices Americans are now seeing, as well as the high rate of inflation.

"You can thank Biden for that," he said, adding that America had the capability of producing its own energy — and was actually importing goods prior to the pandemic.

He then added that the left-wing policies of this presidential administration is showing their effects on society today.

"The borders are open, there is rampant crime," he added. "People are looking for a change."

McConnell also reflected on his long term in office, dating back to 1984. He said he had been called "the most important Republican since Ronald Reagan" and was named among the most powerful leaders by Time Magazine in 2015 and 2016 when he was Senate Majority Leader. Now with the Democrats in control of the Senate, McConnell still remains the Republican leader, but now as the Senate Minority leader. He said one of his greatest feats in recent years — while Senate Majority Leader — was to delay the appointment of a new Chief Justice until after the Obama Administration.

"We need judges who follow the law," he said. "We've seen four circuit judges appointed and three Supreme Court judges."

During a press conference following his address, McConnell said his position on gun control laws was to have a "bipartisan agreement" on actions taken, but did not elaborate on that subject further. When questioned on the Roe vs. Wade controversy, in which some states have abolished abortion, McConnell said that would be left for the Chief Justices to decide.

McConnell thanked those in attendance for their continued support over the years, adding that he never dreamed he would ever serve in Washington D.C. While he is the longest-serving senator for the state of Kentucky, he is also nearing as one of the longest senators in history — and in 2022, he will tie for term of service with Montana Democrat Congressman Mike Mansfield, who served first in the House of Representatives in 1942 before being elected to the Senate in 1952 and becoming Majority Leader.