A liberal super PAC in Kentucky is on the defensive after recently sending a racist tweet attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) wife for being Chinese.
McConnell, running for reelection in 2014, is married to former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan after her family fled mainland China during the Chinese Civil War. One super PAC dedicated to defeating McConnell, Progress Kentucky, has spent months relentlessly hammering the Republican on outsourcing.
However, on February 14, they took the matter a step further and sent the following tweet impugning McConnell’s wife’s heritage as an explanation for why Kentucky jobs have been outsourced:
— Progress Kentucky (@ProgressKy) February 14, 2013
Progress Kentucky spokesman Curtis Morrison issued the following statement to WFPL on the matter: “It’s not an official statement. It’s a Tweet. And we will remove it if it’s wrong.” Nearly two weeks later, though, the offending tweet has not been deleted.
There are a number of reasons why jobs in the United States have been outsourced, from inevitable globalization forces to corporate tax breaks that reward shipping jobs overseas. McConnell’s wife’s ancestry is not one of them. There are also legitimate reasons to criticize Chao’s tenure as Labor Secretary; her heritage has nothing to do with them.
Unfortunately, xenophobic anti-Chinese messages have become a staple in modern campaigns. The last two election cycles alone have featured racist ads from Republicans, Democrats, and anti-spending front groups. Perhaps the most egregious was an ad from Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) in a 2011 special election depicting a heavily-accented Chinese news anchor in the near-future reporting on how American debt led to Chinese army marching in front of the U.S. Capitol as it flies the Chinese flag.
Ignoring the maxim of holes and digging, Progress Kentucky just released a second statement standing by its tweet and denying that it was racist in nature: “Senator Mitch McConnell has a conflict of interest that many are afraid to talk about, and Progress Kentucky is not,” the group said.