Sen. Mitch McConnell takes on group for criticizing his wife
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for a tough reelection fight next year in Kentucky. Among other things, he's had to deal with one group's criticism of his wife's Asian heritage.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell lambasted a liberal group on Saturday for criticizing the Asian heritage of his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, calling its Twitter messages "racial slurs" and "the ultimate outrage."Skip to next paragraph
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"They will not get away with attacking my wife in this campaign," McConnell told about 100 home-state supporters at a Republican dinner in Winchester, Ky.
"This woman has the ear of @McConnellPress – she's his #wife," the group Progress Kentucky tweeted on Feb. 14. "May explain why your job moved to #China!"
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Progress Kentucky removed the offending comments from Twitter after Louisville public radio station WFPL-FM aired reports about them. And the group issued two apologies over the past week for what it described as "inappropriate tweets sent by our organization."
"Elaine Chao is just as much an American as any of the rest of them," McConnell said. "In fact, she had to go through a lot more to become an American."
McConnell's aides had already criticized the tweets.
"Secretary Chao and her family are shining examples of the American dream: salt-of-the-earth folks who escaped oppression, came here with nothing, joined our great melting pot, worked exceptionally hard to build a thriving business, and then dedicated so much of their lives to giving back," said Jesse Benton, manager of McConnell's reelection campaign. "It is unconscionable that anyone would use blatant race-baiting for political gain."
Progress Kentucky executive director Shawn Reilly released a statement posted on the group's website.
"Those tweets did not reflect our values, and we are committed to making sure nothing like that happens again." He said the volunteer who posted the comments no longer is affiliated with the group.