Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from West Virginia Don Blankenship put himself in hot water earlier this week by using the phrase “Chinaperson.”
Appearing on a local radio station for an interview, Blankenship suggested that Mitch McConnell may have a conflict of interest when it comes to international relations because of his father-in-law, who is Chinese.
McConnell is married to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, whose father James Chao was born in China but started his business, a shipping company called Foremost Group, in New York.
“I have an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson and there’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China,” Blankenship said on a radio show.
Blankenship appeared in a West Virginia primary debate hosted by Fox News and defended his use of the phrase, trying to assure the public that he has doesn’t have “any problem with China.”
“This idea that calling somebody a ‘Chinaperson,’ I mean, I’m an American person. I don’t see this insinuation by the press that there’s something racist about saying a ‘Chinaperson.’ Some people are Korean persons, and some of them are African persons. That’s not any slander there.”
Blankenship’s Senate campaign has repeatedly attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A campaign ad from earlier this week referred to McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” alluding to a drug bust within McConnell’s father-in-law’s shipping company in 2014.
When the moderator of the debate asked how Blankenship would fare working alongside McConnell in the Senate, he responded: “I’m not going to D.C. to get along.”
Blankenship’s anti-establishment attitude toward D.C. and particular style of insulting McConnell align very closely with Trump, making his choice of words and his inability to understand why they might be found offensive unsurprising.
However, the race for Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) seat is hotly contested. The May 8 primary will be a toss-up between Blankenship and two other Republicans, state Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and Representative Evan Jenkins of West Virginia’s third congressional district.
The midterm elections in November are largely expected to be a turning point for Democrats, who hold the minority in both houses of Congress at the moment. The Senate has maintained a Republican majority since 2015 and is not expected to turn over to the Democrats. Trump won the presidency in West Virginia in a landslide, meaning there’s a good chance that Manchin will be replaced by a Republican.
Still, many speculate that there will be major gains in the House of Representatives which has had a Republican majority since 2011.
H/T: Huffington Post