Apr 25, 2018

Don Blankenship calls Elaine Chao’s dad a “wealthy Chinaperson”

Blankenship at a town hall in Morgantown, WV. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

Don Blankenship, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, suggested during a radio appearance Monday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a conflict of interest by being married to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao — not because of her Cabinet position, but because her father is "a wealthy Chinaperson," the New York Times reports.

The backdrop: Blankenship, a former coal magnate, was firing back after an attack ad from a super PAC linked to McConnell criticized him for contaminating local drinking water. The purpose of the ad was to aid Blankenship's opponents, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Representative Evan Jenkins, who are more conventional Republican candidates.

“I have an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson. There’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China."
— Blankenship on 106.3, The River

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.