Last Updated on February 16, 2021
President Donald Trump released a statement excoriating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” who is responsible for his party’s devastating loss of the Senate. Then, he noted that McConnell cannot be trusted on China because of his family ties to the communist state.
One of the most noteworthy observations President Trump made in the statement is that “McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings,” adding that the Senate Minority Leader “does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.”
National File reported on McConnell’s family ties to the People’s Republic of China in some detail in 2020, covering the various anomalies associated with McConnell’s marriage into the Chao family.
Most notably, McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the daughter of shipping magnates James and Ruth Chao and the sister of businesswoman Angela Chao, who was appointed to a non-executive position on the Bank of China’s board of directors in 2016.
Following the death of Ruth Chao, McConnell’s federal disclosure jumped from $3 million to $33 million over a two-year span, and he has also received over $1 million in financial contributions from Elaine Chao’s family.
Angela Chao also serves as the CEO of the Foremost maritime shipping empire, which, despite describing itself as an American company with offices located in New York, conducts its business almost exclusively in Asia. Foremost’s fleet sails under flags registered in Liberia and Hong Kong, not the United States.
Foremost’s fleet was valued at $1.2 billion by shipping tracker VesselsValue in 2019, making it the most valuable such fleet of any dry bulk shipping operation headquartered in the United States while primarily operating in Asia.
James and Angela Chao also serve on the board of the Chinese government-owned China State Shipbuilding corporation, which, as the New York Times reported, receives substantial amounts of cash loans from the Bank of China. As noted earlier, Angela Chao sits in a non-executive position on the Bank of China’s board of directors.
Though the Chaos insist that curiosity about McConnell’s ties to China abounds directly as a result of anti-Chinese prejudice, the issue has received bipartisan scrutiny over the course of mcConnell’s lengthy and prosperous tenure in the Senate.
President Trump’s full statement targeting McConnell, during which he promises to back primary challengers to the Senate Minority Leader “where necessary,” can be read here.