On Wednesday evening, the current Senate Majority Leader unexpectedly became the subject of a viral Twitter trend. Before long, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Where's Mitch" updates spread like wildfire across the internet, as the lawmaker documented her efforts to find McConnell. Her goal was to demand that he introduce House-approved government shutdown legislation on the Senate floor.
The hashtag was born in Ocasio-Cortez's video that she released to Twitter and her Instagram Story on Wednesday night. In the video, she showed that she and a group of freshmen Congress members were looking for McConnell. Soon after, Ocasio-Cortez released a tweet which read,
800,000 workers are missing their paychecks and we’re pushing to get them paid ASAP. We’re here doing our job - the House has voted to reopen government whole or in part several times - so why can’t we find GOP Senators to ask them do theirs? #WheresMitch
Following that tweet, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted again, "He’s not in the cloak room, He’s not in the Capitol, He’s not in the Russel building, He’s not on the floor of the Senate, And 800,000 people still don’t have their paychecks - so
Other politicians quickly joined on the #WheresMitch bandwagon. Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted, "Love playing hide and seek with the kids. Never thought it would be happening in Congress with
Similarly, Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted, "He needs to face the American people and explain himself. These are the same bills the Senate supported before we took the majority in the House. Stop playing games with people's lives.
It wasn't just Congress members who were getting in on the action, though: more than 100,000 tweets on Wednesday night included the #WheresMitch hashtag, with many of those tweets coming from influencers, activists, and everyday individuals.
Trans Army vet and activist Charlotte Clymer wrote, "Has any woman Member of Congress tried standing in the middle of the Capitol Building and loudly generalize about men? That’s usually when mediocre white men pop out from behind plants and sh*t to offer their take. Just a thought on strategy.
Swing Left, a grassroots organization that mobilized hundreds of thousands of volunteers in the effort to swing the House back into Democratic control in the 2018 midterms, tweeted,
@SenateMajLdr refuses to hold a vote to reopen the government in the Senate. #WheresMitch? What are you afraid of? Standing up to Trump? If this Senate doesn't work for us, we'll #VoteThemOut in 2020. And we're starting now. Join?
Andrew Weinstein, the chair of the Democrats Lawyer Council, wrote, "Federal workers are literally rationing their insulin to avoid going into debt during the shutdown and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate is nowhere to be found. That’s not leadership - it’s desertion.
According to The New York Post, McConnell's staffers accepted the letter that the new Democratic representatives brought to his office on Wednesday night. McConnell's spokesperson, Don Stewart, told the publication that McConnell wasn't hiding, but that he was simply busy.
Stewart added, “I’m not even sure he had advance notice they were coming."