Blankenship Plays the China Card

The Story: 

Don Blankenship, the former coal executive and ex-con running in West Virginia for the Republican nomination for a seat in the US Senate, has responded to criticisms from the Senate leadership by trying to tie Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the People’s Republic of China.

Key Quotes: 

Blankenship said, of McConnell, “there’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China,” and he described McConnell’s wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, as the daughter of a “wealthy Chineseperson.”

He also said, “I read in books that people think he [McConnell] is soft on China.”

This smacks of desperation. The most recent polling shows that Blankenship is falling behind his two main rivals for the nomination.

Blankenship may be taking this tack in the hope that criticizing the McConnell-Chao power couple will burnish his anti-establishment credentials.

The Thing to Know:

Blankenship may be thinking of the wrong ‘China.’ Secretary Chao was born in Taiwan in 1953, the daughter of parents who fled there after the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949. In US political history, being ‘soft on Taiwan’ has never been an accusation with much heft to it.

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