Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted a Democratic super PAC on Saturday night for mocking the Chinese ethnicity of his wife, former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, with a Valentine's Day tweet.
“They will not get away with attacking my wife in this campaign,” McConnell told about 100
supporters at a Republican dinner in Winchester, Ky., according to the Associated Press.
At the dinner, AP reported, McConnell called the tweets racial slurs and “the ultimate outrage” and went on to defend Chao, who was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States as an 8-year-old with her family aboard a freight ship. “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.”
Republican and Democratic leaders criticized the group after the tweet was posted in February. Progress Kentucky removed the tweet after a Louisville public radio station aired a story about it. The group also released statements of apology for “inappropriate tweets sent by our organization.”
Many of the group's tweets have tried to link McConnell to outsourcing to China, and several have referred to Chao. The group even re-tweeted someone's suggestion that McConnell made Chao's father rich and gave her citizenship:
— BethsPersonalOpinion (@BethAnnDavidson) February 20, 2013
Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Progress Kentucky had also tweeted twice suggesting that McConnell was gay and linking to an old news release written by an activist who has made similar accusations against several other politicians.
"Is @mcconnellpress a gay-bashing gay senator?" asked one of the tweets, both of which have been deleted.
The AP report did not say whether McConnell referred to those tweets during his Saturday night remarks.