Trump Knocks McConnell Challenger Amy McGrath Over 9/11 Comment

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
July 10, 2019 Updated: July 10, 2019

President Donald Trump on Twitter knocked the woman challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), noting she’d made a remark about the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“Democrats are coming after our great Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, with someone who compared my election to September 11,” he wrote on Twitter late July 9.

“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!!” he added.

Amy McGrath, 44, announced her challenge to McConnell, 77, on July 9, pivoting from her failed House campaign in 2016 to try to present herself in this bid as more pro-Trump than McConnell.

But the former fighter pilot, while speaking at an event in 2017, compared the election of Trump to the 9/11 terror attacks.

“That morning I woke up like somebody had sucker punched me. I mean, I felt like, ‘What has just happened to my country?’” McGrath said at the event, referring to the morning after Trump’s election victory.

“The only feeling I can describe that’s any close to it was the feeling I had after 9/11. ‘What just happened, where are we going from here,’ and it was that just sinking feeling of sadness, and I didn’t know what to do.”

McConnell’s team has highlighted McGrath’s past statements, including one where she called herself “more progressive than anybody in the state of Kentucky.”

McGrath appeared on CNN on Tuesday and was asked about the 9/11 remark.

“What I was talking about was the fact that nobody really expected President Trump to win and I was also talking about the entire 2016 cycle. 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’d never seen before.”

“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 and taking stock of where are we as a country. And I can see why folks might be upset about that.”

McConnell’s team shared the clip, calling it “embarrassing.”

McGrath has taken aim at the longtime Senator, saying in her announcement video that he has, “bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise.”

“I’m running for Senate because it shouldn’t be like this,” McGrath added, at one point saying McConnell was “elected a lifetime ago.”

McGrath also said that she wrote a letter to McConnell when she was 13 saying she wanted women to be able to fight for their country. “He never wrote back,” she said.

McGrath lost a race for the House seat held by incumbent Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) in the 2018 election by around 10,000 votes. McConnell beat challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes by over 220,000 votes in 2014.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.