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Liberal Super PAC Goes After Mitch McConnell's 'Chinese' Wife

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for online messages targeting U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife. The liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has relentlessly attacked McConnell, but has recently turned its attention to McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. The messages link to a conspiracy theorist website blaming Chao, who was born in Taiwan, for jobs being shipped to China. Progress Kentucky’s messages also accuse what it calls Chao’s “Chinese” family of buying state elections.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says the comments are disgusting and is demanding an apology from the group.

“We just think this kind of race-baiting has absolutely no place in American politic,” Benton said.” We think Progress Kentucky should really be ashamed of what’s been going out under their name. People should be fired and a public apology should be issued, I think everybody of good conscience in Kentucky should agree that these sort of attacks should be pushed to the side,”

According to campaign finance records, a member of Chao’s family has donated $80,000 to the Kentucky GOP. Spokesman Curtis Morrison for Progress Kentucky says their intent wasn’t to be insensitive to Chinese Americans.

“It’s not an official statemen.” Morrison said. “It’s a Tweet. And we will remove it if it’s wrong. I follow Ashley Judd on Twitter and she removed a Tweet the other day, she Tweeted to you Phillip. People make mistakes in Tweets. It happens. Inferring that Elaine Chao is not a U.S. citizen was not our intention,”

Morrison said Progress Kentucky wasn’t trying to offend Asian Americans, but is trying to show how Chinese interests influence McConnell. The group plans to issue an apology to Chao, but the McConnell campaign says the volunteer should be fired.

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
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