Amy McGrath, the former Marine fighter pilot challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, tried to explain on CNN why she compared President Donald Trump's election to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
McGrath's anti-Trump rhetoric, as well as that controversial comparison, could hurt her while trying to win an election in a state Trump carried easily in 2016.
What did she say about Trump's election?
"And that morning I woke up like somebody had sucker punched me," McGrath said of Trump's election during a 2017 candidate forum, when she was running for a House seat. "I felt like, 'what has just happened to my country?' The only feeling I can describe that's any close to it was the feeling I had after 9/11."
Now what does she say about that?
McGrath's defense of that comparison boils down to the fact that both 9/11 and President Trump beating Hillary Clinton were surprising events.
"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 said during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "You know, many of us were spurred into action by what happened in 2016. The labeling of each other as 'they're all communists,' or they're all this or they're all that. And the fake news. And the divisiveness of our country was something I had never seen before."
Has Trump weighed in?
"Democrats are coming after our great Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, with someone who compared my election to September 11th," Trump wrote on Twitter. "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 president makes a legitimate point, and McGrath has quite an uphill battle to contend with McConnell in 2020. She was not even able to win Kentucky's 6th District in 2018, and her attempt to run as a pro-Trump Democrat is undermined and contradicted by her anti-Trump comments.