Tue February 26, 2013
Progress Kentucky Apologizes to Mitch McConnell's Wife Over 'Chinese' Twitter Messages
Hours after being roundly condemned by Democrats and Republicans, a liberal super PAC is apologizing to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife for a series of controversial Twitter messages.
The group's Tweets accused former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, of moving American jobs to China and that her "Chinese (money)" was buying state elections.
Critics slammed the comments as racially offensive, and a national backlash against the group was ignited.
Progress Kentucky executive director Shawn Reilly says they remain dedicated to educating voters about McConnell's record, but their messages "included an inappropriate comment on the ethnicity" of the former labor secretary.
"We apologize to the secretary for that unnecessary comment and have deleted the tweets in question. In addition, we have put a review process in place to ensure tweets and other social media communications from Progress Kentucky are reviewed and approved prior to posting," he says.
Reilly had initially balked at expressing regret despite a spokesperson telling WFPL an apology was forthcoming. But after Democrats such as actress Ashley Judd, who is the rumored opponent for McConnell in 2014, denounced the Twitter messages Progress issued the apology late Tuesday evening.
"Whatever the intention, whatever the venue, whomever the person, attacks or comments on anyone's ethnicity are wrong (and) patently unacceptable," Judd said via Twitter.
Others such as Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also denounced Progress for their Tweets, calling them racially insensitive.
"Senator McConnell’s record deserves a thorough and legitimate airing. We believe that after fair examination of it Kentuckians will agree that Senator McConnell has been wrong over and over on the issues that matter," says Reilly. "We will continue to inform Kentucky voters the important issues at stake in this election."