Exclusive–McConnell Challenger Matt Bevin: Mitch 'Missing in Action' on Syria

Exclusive–McConnell Challenger Matt Bevin: Mitch 'Missing in Action' on Syria

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not taken a stance on whether the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria’s civil war, a point his primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin, made in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

“I’m offended, frankly, by the non-stance of Mitch McConnell,” Bevin said in a sit-down interview at Breitbart’s Washington, D.C. offices. “I’m offended by the voting ‘present’ by Ed Markey. I’m offended by the poker playing of John McCain. I’m offended by all these guys that have been sitting around that place gathering dust and moss for decades who are utterly unwilling to lead on and be thoughtful on things that are of this magnitude and this importance.”

While McConnell has not taken a stance on the matter, he was seen in the video the White House released of congressional leaders meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this week on the issue of military intervention in Syria. Bevin told Breitbart News, “I’m just grateful for the fact that to my knowledge, he wasn’t playing poker, at least, like certain other senior senators who are supposed to be taking this seriously.”

McConnell issued a statement after the White House meeting saying he “appreciate[s] the President’s briefing today at the White House and would encourage him to continue updating the American people.” Fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has come out against U.S. military action in Syria, as have Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). If Bevin were to be elected over McConnell, he told Breitbart News he would stand with Paul, Cruz, and Lee.

“The reason I am opposed to it [U.S. military involvement in Syria] is we have absolutely no business whatsoever being in Syria,” Bevin said. “There is no military reason for us to be involved. There is no security risk to the United States.” 

“There is nobody on either side who is or has the potential to be a true ally of ours because they don’t even remotely believe in what we believe as it relates to freedom of religion, freedom of the press, human rights, basic human dignity,” Bevin explained. “We have no business in being there.”

Bevin criticized the administration for even considering getting involved in the Syrian civil war. He claimed it is McConnell’s role to step up and do something about the issue.

“The idea that we have an administration and we have silent ‘leaders’ like Mitch McConnell who are just spineless and refuse to come out and state what they believe, who when they do come out in the case of the administration they say, ‘Well we don’t intend to have any kind of a regime change,’ then what the flying flip are we even going in there for?” Bevin said. 

“Really and truly, what is the point if we don’t have an end goal, if we don’t have a purpose, if we don’t have a mission, why would we be sending our weapons, which could potentially lead to our people being involved in this, destroying infrastructure and destroying people in another nation when we don’t have any knowledge of why we’re doing it?” he asked. “Because of some arbitrary line that the president drew in the sand and is now trying to pretend that the world drew in the sand? Really? What a cop out.”

Bevin said Obama’s “red line” comment on Syria is now coming back to haunt him. “He [Obama] is starting to realize that words matter,” Bevin said. “He’s real quick. He’s got a silver tongue and he’s starting to choke on it.”

Bevin said that this Syria situation is an opportunity for people in Congress to fill the leadership gap President Obama and his administration have left open.

“One of the greatest reasons we hear in Kentucky for why we need six more years of Mitch McConnell is that he’s so influential,” Bevin said. “He’s so powerful. He’s a leader. And it’s so good for those of us in Kentucky.” 

“But the reality is when asked if they can name any one thing that that leadership and influence has done for Kentucky, any one thing that power has done for Kentucky, nobody can think of anything because the answer is nothing,” Bevin claimed. “The only person who has been served by that influence and power is Mitch McConnell. He is a spineless person and he is unwilling to lead.”

“It isn’t specific to any party. There is amazing dearth of leadership on both sides of the aisle. These are people whose primary mission is to keep getting re-elected,” Bevin suggested. “When it’s hard and when it’s tough, and when someone truly needs to stand up and lead, they’re silent. They’re missing in action.”

Bevin added that the real “thought leaders” and “influence leaders” in the U.S. Senate are Sens. Cruz, Lee, and Paul, whom he said he will join if he beats McConnell in next year’s primary election and wins election to the U.S. Senate. 

“Who has truly led on the floor of the U.S. Senate in the last one, two or three years?” Bevin said. “It’s Ted Cruz, it’s Mike Lee and it’s Rand Paul. They are the thought leaders. They are the people wagging the dog.” 

“These old fuddy-duddy moss-covered relics are just hiding behind their inactivity in the hopes of getting six more years on our dime,” he declared. “And I think the people of Kentucky, certainly, are fed up with it.”