John Kennedy Attacks COVID Stimulus Bill With Harvey Weinstein Analogy

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) drew a comparison to movie mogul and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein while criticizing the COVID-19 relief bill Democrats are inching closer to passing in the Senate.

During his remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday, Kennedy argued against the roughly $1.9 trillion budget allocated to the legislation, at one point referring to disgraced film industry titan Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year prison sentence for sexual abuse and rape.

"I've come to the conclusion—and I'm not trying to be mean-spirited—but that's why I say calling this a coronavirus bill, it's like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist," the senator said. "This isn't a coronavirus bill. Not the way it's been portrayed."

"I think we're going to end up spending money that doesn't need to be spent right now," Kennedy added. "I think we're going to end up spending money where we don't need to spend it."

During a Fox News appearance this week, Kennedy made the same analogy, followed with more harsh metaphors expressing his dissatisfaction with the bill.

"It's chock full of spending porn, billions of dollars to states and local governments that have seen their revenues go up, billions of dollars to pension programs, billions of dollars to schools with no requirement that they open," Kennedy said. "It's an orgy of pork."

Kennedy's qualms with the bill were shared by his Republican colleagues in the Senate, who continuously insisted the legislation earmarked more funds than necessary.

"I want to help the American people, gosh, many of them do need help," Kennedy said in the chamber. "But should we really be sending stimulus checks to people who've never missed a paycheck out there? Do they really need the money if they haven't been laid off?"

All 48 Democratic members voted to advance the bill, as did two independent lawmakers. Every Senate Republican voted against it. Vice President Kamala Harris delivered her tie-breaking vote on Thursday, handing the Democrats a 51st vote over the Republicans' 50.

As Democrats looked to the budget reconciliation process—which would allow them to pass the measures without GOP support—Senate Republicans sought to push back debating the relief package by requesting the chamber's clerks read all 628 pages of the bill out loud.

Kennedy, who is up for re-election in 2022, received former President Donald Trump's endorsement on Thursday. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana's other senator, last week found himself named and shamed by Trump, along with other GOP lawmakers who voted to convict the ex-president during his unprecedented second impeachment trial.

“Calling this a coronavirus bill, you know, it’s like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist,” Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, comparing legislation to a rapist.

— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 4, 2021
Senator Jon Kennedy speaks at US Capitol
Senator John Kennedy, R-LA, speaks as FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 2, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Kennedy referred to disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in his arguments against the COVID-19 relief bill pushed by Democrats. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images