‘Rich Mitch’: Republican group that infuriated Trump takes aim at Senate leader in new ad

Andrew Naughtie
Mitch McConnell addresses the media in Washington, DC: REUTERS

A campaign group formed by anti-Trump Republican operatives has launched a TV commercial against the party’s leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election this November.

Deriding him as “Rich Mitch”, the ad is being broadcast in the senator’s home state of Kentucky. It is the work of the Lincoln Project, an operation founded by veterans of various Republican campaigns united in their disgust for Donald Trump, as well as for their party’s acquiescence to him and his agenda.

“What will history say about Mitch McConnell?” asks the ad’s voiceover. “Well, he’s spent most of his time making deals for himself. Not so much for Kentucky.

“Mitch didn’t have money when he went to Washington 35 years ago. Today, he’s one of the richest guys up there. So what did Kentucky get in the bargain? Well, we’re 40th in job opportunity, 45th in education, 43rd in healthcare. Getting the picture?”

Self-enrichment on the part of senators has become something of a running story lately. Republican senators Richard Burr of North Carolina and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia have both been met with public disgust after it emerged they had sold off millions of dollars of shares in industries vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic before the economic impact was clear – but after they had received confidential briefings forecasting it.

With stories like these in the air, the Lincoln Project’s attack on Mr McConnell attempts to hit what could be a highly sensitive electoral nerve.

“After 35 years, Kentuckians are still waiting for the kinds of opportunities Mitch worked so hard to give himself. With another six years of Mitch McConnell, from the hollow to the horse farm, we’ll still be waiting. And Mitch? He’ll just be richer.

“So what will history say about Mitch McConnell? The same thing many Kentuckians say now: not a damn thing.”

The Lincoln Project, whose express aim is to prevent the president’s re-election, has made a conventional TV ad buy for the McConnell spot, spending $250,000 to get it on the airwaves. However, the project’s approach to advertising has also been highly targeted.

Earlier this month, it paid a mere $5,000 to screen an anti-Trump ad titled “Mourning in America” during a Fox News show the president is known to watch devotedly. The result was a barrage of rageful tweets from the president, ensuring the ad received maximal attention and raising the group more than $1.4m.

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