A Democrat political operative has engaged in race-baiting about the wife of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader.
This is the second time that Kentucky Democrats have made Elaine Chao’s ethnicity an issue on social media.
Elaine Chao, who has been married to McConnell for more than two decades, is the distinguished former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the George W. Bush administration. She is of Chinese heritage and was born in Taiwan and is the first Asian-American woman to serve in a U.S. president’s cabinet.
The series of tweets sent by Kathy Groob, a so-called advocate for women in politics and the head of a Democrat political action committee, seemed to be slamming Chao’s Asian heritage. After a backlash, Groob apologized for her poor choice of words and deleted the tweets and her Twitter account entirely. Kentucky Democrats, including McConnell’s rival Alison Lundergan Grimes, denounced the tweets.
Commenting on the offensive tweets, BizPac Review opined about Elaine Chao’s career that “The daughter of Taiwanese parents who arrived in the country at 8 years old speaking no English and has since served as Cabinet secretary, director of the Peace Corps, president and CEO of United Way and numerous other posts in finance and the federal government. In short, she’s exactly the kind of woman Dems despise: accomplished, successful and conservative.”
After beating back a Tea Party challenger in the primary, McConnell is locked in a tight general election race with Lundergan Grimes, although current projections are that the GOP is likely to hold the seat. A Libertarian candidate might be a spoiler, however, and disgruntled Tea Party voters staying home on election day could also be a problem for the incumbent.
In March of last year, a liberal group called Progress Kentucky was forced to apologize for racially charged tweets about Elaine Chao.
According to The Daily Beast, the Groob tweets about Chao would be making headlines if the political parties were reversed. “A prominent Democrat attacks a spouse of a Republican candidate based on the color of her skin, but the reaction from the national media has been largely muted. One can only imagine the reaction had a GOP operative made the exact same slur against the spouse of a Democratic candidate. There would be wall-to-wall coverage on MSNBC, disapproving editorials from The New York Times, and warnings from the DNC that Republicans are looking to bring us back to the days of internment camps and Jim Crow…America’s greatest strength is our diversity of culture. Racism is not to be tolerated in our society under any circumstances. That needs to be the rule, the universal standard, regardless of whether the offender is a Republican or a Democrat.”
In another controversy, a published report claimed that Chao sits on the Board of Bloomberg Philanthropies (another Michael Bloomberg initiative) which gave $50 million to the Sierra Club in 2011 for the so-called war on coal. Chao apparently did not join the board of that organization until 2012, and “Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said Chao was not involved in the decision to give the money to the Sierra Club and had nothing to do with the group’s continuing to fund the project.” Both McConnell and his opponent in the November election support the coal industry and oppose controversial new EPA rules that could shut down many coal-fired power plants.
The longest-serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history (first elected in 1984), McConnell has been the minority leader for the Republicans on Capitol Hill since 2007. Elaine Chao and Mitch McConnell have been married since 1993.