Colorado senator and 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bennet has vowed to send a copy of his new book to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for every donation he receives.
The self-published book, entitled "Dividing America: How Russia Hacked Social Media and Democracy," examines foreign interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
"The propaganda Russia drove into our social media feeds is shocking, but what’s even more frightening is that we didn’t recognize these divisive images as distinct from our own political rhetoric for over a year," said Bennet in a campaign statement.
"This book makes crystal clear what Russia did and how they did it. The 2020 election is around the corner, yet the Trump administration has done nothing to protect our democracy from these attacks again. We must demand that Mitch McConnell see these disturbing images and act now," the statement continued.
The propaganda Russia drove into our social media is graphic and unsettling.@SenateMajLdr McConnell needs to see these disturbing images.— Michael Bennet (@MichaelBennet) August 14, 2019
Send him a copy at https://t.co/JY7DH7AVhd and demand he act now to protect our elections. pic.twitter.com/qWYebo93Qy
The campaign created a website for the digital version of the book, referring to McConnell as “#MoscowMitch” on multiple donation requests throughout the homepage. Critics used that same name tag in late July when McConnell blocked two election bills to deter Russian meddling amid a new 2020 election threat, claiming it was "partisan legislation from the Democratic House of Representatives."
"It's very important that we maintain the integrity and security of our elections in our country," the GOP leader said, but added, "any Washington involvement in that task needs to be undertaken with extreme care, extreme care and on a thoroughly bipartisan basis. Obviously this legislation is not that. It's just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia."
Several high profile Democrats have come out in support of Bennet’s call to action, including former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Russia’s interference in our elections will continue to threaten our democracy until Republicans join Democrats to stop it. @MichaelBennet’s new book shines a spotlight on this critical issue.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 14, 2019
Maybe we can all send a copy to @senatemajldr? https://t.co/iJNyicG0Ew
When asked why he thinks McConnell would block election security legislation, in an interview on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," Bennet accused the majority leader of being "scared of President Donald Trump."
“It would seem to me that the least thing that a majority leader of the senate would do would be to help protect our democracy. He hasn’t been able to do that when it comes to campaign finance reform, but given what we now know what the Russians did and what the intelligence community has said about their effort to undermine our confidence in each and our confidence in our democracy,” Bennet said.
The Colorado senator's criticism comes as 54% of Americans say they are not confident of the United States’ ability to effectively prevent foreign attacks on the 2020 election, according to an ABC News/ Ipsos Poll.
The Colorado senator said he created the book when he realized many Americans may not know what Russian interference on social media may have looked like.
“[Russia] attacked democracies all over the world. It’s not just our democracy. But in our democracy they used these racist images,” Bennet said.
"They’re on both sides of every question, and you can see it in the book. Sometimes they are Black Lives Matter advocates, sometimes they are Blue Lives Matter advocates," he continued, flipping through the pages of his book.
“The American people need to know what’s in this book so that they could defend themselves if they have a president that’s not willing to defend them.“