WaPo Knocks McGrath for 'Grossly Misleading' Attack on McConnell

Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath / Getty Images
August 10, 2020

Washington Post fact-check found Amy McGrath, the Democrat challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), used a misleading attack on McConnell's wealth.

McGrath's ad attacked McConnell for having allegedly "made millions from China," although the ad did not specify exactly how it was alleging McConnell profited. The fact-check described the attack as "grossly misleading" and awarded it "Three Pinocchios."

"His trade deals made China richer, their military stronger. They're spying on us. And they didn't stop the coronavirus," the ad's narrator said. "Oh, and Mitch made millions from China. Thirty-six years is long enough."

The fact-check, however, pointed out McConnell's wealth comes from marrying into a wealthy family with a successful international business, making the claim that McConnell unethically profits from trade with China "grossly misleading." McConnell has a net worth of more than $34 million, most of that coming from his marriage to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who received a significant inheritance after her mother's death in 2007.

"We’ve given these ads Three Pinocchios before and will do so again. McConnell became rich because he married into a wealthy family with a profitable business. Specifically, his wife, Elaine Chao, received an inheritance from her mother," it stated. "To say McConnell 'made millions from China' is grossly misleading. American companies do not become less American by establishing successful shipping routes in the South China Sea."

The Chao family's shipping company has done business in China for years, which has raised concerns during her time in President Donald Trump's cabinet. Chao's family has also financially supported McConnell's campaigns.

McGrath's attacks on McConnell have run afoul of the facts repeatedly. It was the Post's own opinion page where McGrath borrowed one of her false attacks, although the Post later corrected the claim that McConnell had delayed the vote on a coronavirus relief package. McGrath also used images of coal miners to argue McConnell didn't do anything to help their health problems, but the coal miners contradicted her claim about McConnell and demanded their faces not appear in McGrath's ads.