On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to attacks from his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, Fox News reported. McConnell slammed McGrath for releasing a “racist” advertisement that seemed to target his wife Elaine Chao, who is of Chinese descent.
In her ad, McGrath — who is a former Marine pilot — accused McConnell of cutting deals that “made China richer, their military stronger, they’re spying on us and they didn’t stop the coronavirus.”
“Oh, and Mitch made millions from China,” the brief video clip said.
In response, McConnell released an advertisement of his own, accusing McGrath of launching a “racist” attack on his Chinese-American wife.
In a statement, McConnell said that the advertisement was “probably the worst” racially-charged attack he and Chao — who serves as transportation secretary — have experienced so far.
“Elaine and I have suffered no shortage of racially tinged political attacks since we’ve been married, but this ad is probably the worst. My wife has spent decades serving her country, and although her family looks a little different than Amy McGrath’s, I can assure her that they are every bit as American.”
As Fox News noted, a fact check from The Washington Post awarded McGrath with “three Pinocchios,” pointing out that the Democrat’s ad contained false and misleading claims about the Kentucky Republican.
McConnell has previously been attacked over his alleged ties to Beijing. In 2018, West Virginia Republican Don Blankenship accused him of creating “millions of jobs for China people.” In 2014, Democratic operative Kathy Groob took aim at Chao’s heritage.
Chao inherited large sums of money from her family, which owns the Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company. She also made money on her own, serving on corporate boards.
According to some polls, McGrath is a formidable challenger. In a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month, 44 percent of respondents expressed support for McGrath, while 49 percent of them said that they support the longtime Senate majority leader. As Politico reported, other polling suggests that McConnell is ahead. A recent Morning Consult survey, for instance, put the Republican 17 percentage points ahead of his challenger.
Earlier this week, in an apparent attempt to rejuvenate her campaign, McGrath — who beat progressive Charles Booker in the Democratic Party primary — demoted operative Mark Nickolas, appointing Dan Kanninen as her campaign manager.
Kanninen worked on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s White House bid and ran the North Carolina operation for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In a statement, Kanninen described McConnell as a “destructive force,” saying that he is “honored” to work on the former Marine pilot’s campaign.