Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested that most of the barriers holding women back against men have been "lifted" and that the gender of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is challenging McConnell, won't make a difference in the general election.
"I could be wrong, but most of the barriers have been lifted," McConnell said during a visit to Buckner, Kentucky on Monday. The report of McConnell's visit was published in The Oldham Era newspaper on Thursday. "Women voters will look at the same issues as men are."
McConnell has appeared to go back and forth on key women's issues in the past. He's previously touted support for the anti-domestic abuse Violence Against Women's Act while also having a consistent record of voting against the legislation.
In response Grimes' campaign called the comment "outrageous."
"The statement is outrageous. It is disappointing and I think that it finally clears up why Senator McConnell has voted against equal pay for equal work for women. Why he doesn't think a pay gap exists. Which is what he's saying in the statement," Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst told TPM on Thursday.
"Finally Mitch McConnell confesses why he voted against equal pay for equal work for women, because he doesn't think a pay gap exists and perhaps with this comment today it also explains why he voted against the Violence Against Women Act, why he stood against Paycheck Act, why he stood against [the] Lilly Ledbetter [Act]," Hurst continued. "Senator McConnell continues to stand against the women of Kentucky and now he's finally explained to us why he doesn't think barriers exist."
The McConnell campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.