At their annual meeting in Kansas City last week the NAACP, the nation's largest civil rights organization, accused the Tea Party of harboring racist elements and called on leaders of the movement to "repudiate" those elements. Tea Party representatives and allies rejected the accusation.
And in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley on Sunday McConnell (R-Ky.) decided not to get involved.
"I am not interested in getting into that debate," he said. "What we are interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do, which is to have some checks and balances here."
When pressed by Crowley about some of the more overt symbols of racism, like the now infamous protest signs, coming from Tea Party supporters, McConnell doubled down.
"Look, there are all kinds of things going on in America that make me uncomfortable, both on the right and on the left," the minority leader said. "I have got better things to do than to wade in to all of these disputes and discussions that are going on out in the country."
Here's the full excerpt of McConnell's exchange with Crowley from CNN: