Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.) hit back at ex-coal CEO Don Blankenship on Wednesday, doubling down on his opposition to the GOP Senate candidate’s bid to win the primary in West Virginia.
“My father-in-law is an American, who lives in New York. Works in New York. And I don’t have any comment about ridiculous observations like that,” McConnell told Fox News on Wednesday.
Blankenship told a West Virginia radio station that McConnell faces conflicts of interest because the father of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Bottom line Democrats to probe Trump’s replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog MORE, is a “wealthy Chinaperson.”
“There’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China. … I read in books that people think he’s soft on China,” Blankenship said, referring to McConnell.
Chao’s family immigrated from China and founded an international shipping company.
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The rhetorical volley is the latest escalation of a growing war between Blankenship, who is running as an anti-establishment Republican, and the GOP establishment.
McConnell subtly hit back at Blankenship on Wednesday, adding that he hopes GOP voters in West Virginia pick “somebody who can actually win the general election.”
“I’m not in that race but I hope they nominate somebody who can actually win the general election,” he reiterated, asked who he was supporting.
Blankenship, who was released from prison less than a year ago, is battling Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsWest Virginia New Members 2019 Republican Carol Miller holds off Democrat in West Virginia House race Trump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report MORE (W.Va.) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for the GOP nomination on May 8. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects Shelley Moore Capito wins Senate primary West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wins GOP gubernatorial primary MORE (W.Va.).
But a smattering of recent polling shows Blankenship receding into third place after outside groups with ties to the national party have spent hundreds of thousands running ads against him.
McConnell told The New York Times earlier this year that he didn’t want Blankenship to win the primary election.