Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection in 2020 and now has a Democratic challenger, exciting those who would like nothing more than to have the Kentucky Republican go down in defeat.
Amy McGrath, a Marine aviator, has announced her run against McConnell, but her campaign is a long shot in going up against the most powerful GOP lawmaker in the country.
The degree of difficulty for the upstart candidate increased substantially following an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
McGrath was asked about her controversial response to President Donald Trump being elected president in 2016, which the veteran compared to the 9/11, the single most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history that saw nearly 3,000 people lose their lives.
“The only feeling I can describe that’s any close to it was the feeling I had after 9/11,” she said in 2017 during an unsuccessful congressional bid.
“Well, what I was talking about was the fact that, you know, nobody really expected President Trump to win. And I was talking also about the entire 2016 cycle,” McGrath told Tapper. “Many of us were spurred into action by what happened in 2016, the labeling of each other as, ‘They’re all Communist or they’re all this or they’re all that.'”
“And the fake news, the divisiveness of our country was something I had never seen before,” the candidate continued. “My husband is a Republican. I’m a Democrat. We took stock of that after the election and we said, ‘Where are we as a country?’ And that way it was the same thing for me was looking at that tragic event in taking stock of: ‘Where are we as a country?’ So that’s what I was saying, and I can see why, you know, folks might be upset about that. But that is what I was saying.”
The dry, almost incoherent answer left Tapper with a look of stupor on his face, and when she finished he couldn’t jettison her fast enough.
As awkward and embarrassing as that was, things really went downhill for McGrath when she parted.
“Great to have you,” the not-quite-ready-for-primetime candidate told Tapper, as if she was the host of the show and he was the quest.
Needless to say, the McConnell campaign wasted no time capitalizing on the gift.
“This is embarrassing,” read the caption of a tweet from the campaign that included a video clip of the segment.
— Team Mitch (Text MITCH to 47360) (@Team_Mitch) July 9, 2019
The flub at the end is the real money shot, something Trump campaign spokesman Matt Wolking made sure folks took note of: “Stick around for the very end.”
Stick around for the very end https://t.co/aXnBlfyKqM
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) July 10, 2019
President Trump responded to McGrath’s challenge on social media, commenting on her 9/11 remark while endorsing McConnell.
The president tweeted: “Democrats are coming after our great Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, with someone who compared my election to September 11th…
“Why would Kentucky ever think of giving up the most powerful position in Congress, the Senate Majority Leader, for a freshman Senator with little power in what will hopefully be the minority party. We need Mitch in the Senate to Keep America Great!!”
The McConnell campaign released a video of its own welcoming McGrath to the race.
It was brutal, painting her as a hard-left progressive and also drawing attention to her comparing Trump’s election to Sept. 11, 2001.
“Cocaine Mitch gives McGrath a little taste of what’s coming,” tweeted Ned Ryun, the head of American Majority, along with the video. “Hope she enjoys it because there’s going to be a lot of it.”
Cocaine Mitch gives McGrath a little taste of what’s coming. Hope she enjoys it because there’s going to be a lot of it. https://t.co/8NizcQAmoZ
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) July 9, 2019
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