Coal Baron GOPer Says McConnell Has Conflict Over Wife’s Chinese Birth

TPM Illustration. Photo by Getty Images / Alex Wong

National Republicans led by Mitch McConnnell are pulling out every stop to block the West Virginia Senate campaign of disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship. They want a less controversial Republican to face off against Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who is one of Democrats most vulnerable senators in 2018. Now Blankenship is charging that McConnell may be driven the loyalties of his foreign born wife, according to The New York Times.

Speaking on a West Virginia radio show on Monday, Blankenship suggested McConnell has a conflict of interest when it comes to foreign relations because his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, was born in Taipei in 1953. Chao’s father is a “wealthy Chinaperson,” said Blankenship, “And there’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, in you will, in China.

Chao emigrated to the United States at age 8, is a US citizen, and has served as Secretary of Labor in addition to her current role as Secretary of Transportation, among other high level appointments.

Paradoxically, Blakenship himself is engaged to be married to a woman born in China and himself considered becoming a Chinese citizen.

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