Kentucky Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo (D.) compared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to the Nazis at the launch of Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign, according to video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
During the campaign kick-off event on July 30, 2013, Stumbo started off Grimes’ challenge to McConnell by likening the Republican’s tenure in the Senate to Germany’s occupation of France in World War II.
"We have the privilege today of feeling that very special feeling that liberators feel," he said. "Imagine how Douglas MacArthur felt when he stepped foot back in the Philippines. Imagine how Gen. [George] Patton felt when he liberated France. And imagine how you’ll feel when you liberate Kentucky."
Paris was liberated with the aid of General George S. Patton’s 3rd U.S. Army on Aug. 25, 1944, after four years of Nazi occupation.
Stumbo sparked controversy last week by comparing McConnell to the Nazis at a campaign event.
Stumbo said learning Grimes would run against McConnell "reminded me of the feeling our troops must have had when they liberated the European nations after World War II."
Grimes refused to condemn Stumbo’s remarks, saying, "I’ll let you ask him directly what he meant by his comments."
Stumbo refused to apologize, issuing a statement to ABC WTVQ.
"I didn't call McConnell any names, but I also never called him a U.S. senator," Stumbo said. "He doesn't deserve that title after doing nothing for Eastern Kentucky for 30 years."
McConnell described Stumbo’s comments as not "helpful" to the debate.
"It just shows the lengths to which they’re prepared to descend in order to win the election," he told reporters in Lexington on Friday. "I don’t think that kind of rhetoric is helpful at all, and I’m sure he’s spending the day explaining to people like you that he really didn’t mean it."
After the campaign launch last July, Stumbo also referred to the 1,600 Grimes supporters who attended the rally as "Alison’s army."
"I call it Alison's army, and it's a pretty strong showing with that army this afternoon," Stumbo told WDRB 41.
Requests for comment from Stumbo and the Grimes campaign were not immediately returned.