Mitch McConnell defended his wife against a liberal group who criticized her Asian heritage. The Senate Republican Leader called the group’s Twitter messages “racial slurs” and “the ultimate outrage.”
McConnell is married for former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. The Republican defended Chao during a dinner in Winchester, Kentucky, saying:
“They will not get away with attacking my wife in this campaign.”
“This woman has the ear of @McConnellPress — she’s his #wife. May explain why your job moved to #China!”
McConnell responded during the dinner by saying:
“Elaine Chao is just as much an American as any of the rest of them. In fact, she had to go through a lot more to become an American.”
Mitch McConnell, a five-term senator, is up for re-election in 2014 in what is sure to be a difficult race, notes CNN. The senator’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, already criticized the group last week for their comments. In doing so, he sparked similar condemnations from other political groups and blogs from both sides of the aisle.
Kentucky Progress is trying to oust McConnell from his seat. The group has since apologized for the offensive tweet through Twitter and also a statement posted on its website. Shawn Reilly, the group’s executive director, stated:
“Those tweets did not reflect our values, and we are committed to making sure nothing like that happens again. Our key goal is to elevate the conversation about Senator McConnell’s record and the kind of representation Kentucky deserves.”
Reilly added that the volunteer responsible for creating the tweet about McConnell’s wife is no longer affiliated with the liberal group. A spokesman, Curtis Morrison, also stepped down in the aftermath.
It is not the first time Senator Mitch McConnell has defended his wife from criticism. He added, “It’s happened before. The chairman of the Democratic Party a few years back engaged in the same kind of thing.”