It cannot be said often enough that when our country is battling an epidemic that has claimed the lives of more than 90,000 people to date, we should all come together as Americans and that anyone seeking or holding elected office shouldn’t play politics during the crisis.

For the most part, we give members of Congress on both sides of the aisle credit for putting Americans first and their parties second in passing stimulus packages that helped millions upon millions of Americans during these trying times. Legislators also have done all they can to get ventilators, masks and more testing into their home states.

As our readers know, this year is a major national election year, with presidential, U.S. Senate and House, gubernatorial and state legislatures and local races all on the ballots. It’s going to be a big election year in Kentucky, as incumbent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection and likely will face current Democratic front-runner Amy McGrath in the general election in November.

While McGrath, who lost a congressional race in 2018 to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., first must win a primary next month, it appears she will do so, based on polls and projections.

Elections will happen despite the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean any candidate has the right to politicize the COVID-19 crisis in order to attack their opponent. We believe, however, that the McGrath campaign clearly and sadly took advantage of this national pandemic that is killing thousands across our country in a recent ad she ran against McConnell.

In her ad, the retired Marine fighter pilot says American governors from both parties are the ones showing real leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Just like when I served combat, we can see our leaders on the front lines, only this time it’s in our states,” she says.

McGrath then spotlights a group of bipartisan governors, including Kentucky’s Andy Beshear. It also features Ohio’s Mike DeWine and Maryland’s Larry Hogan, both Republicans, before taking a swipe at McConnell.

McGrath goes on to tell viewers that “(McConnell) doesn’t want to pass what he calls ‘blue state bailouts,’ even though Kentucky would get badly needed help, too.”

DeWine didn’t like his image being used against McConnell, and rightfully so. DeWine, who is among the biggest recipients of bipartisan praise with soaring popularity of 84 percent approval among fellow Republicans and 90 percent among Democrats, scolded McGrath for using his image hours before it was released on social media, saying that he and Ohioans are focused exclusively on getting through the pandemic and getting back to work.

“It’s for that reason that I’m particularly disappointed with an attack ad by Amy McGrath that uses my image against my friend, Mitch McConnell,” DeWine said. “Mitch and I have worked together for a long time and I know that he is focused, as I am, on this crisis and I appreciate his leadership. I ask for the McGrath campaign to remove my image from her advertising immediately.”

It’s quite clear that McGrath is using DeWine not only to appear as a moderate, but also in an attempt to cozy up with him because of his popularity in battling COVID-19 and to score some cheap political points.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, McGrath is standing by her ad, which clearly and intentionally used the images of two Republicans governors to make it look like she is a moderate Democrat in a very red state. We know she is anything but, given her comments that she would’ve voted to impeach Trump and that she first supported Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, before hours later retracting that statement and saying she would’ve voted against his confirmation. She is also opposed to Trump’s border wall and is pro-abortion.

These aren’t the politics of a moderate Democrat running against a well-entrenched and conservative McConnell who has done a lot to help the citizens of our state during his years in office and also during the COVID-19 pandemic.

McGrath must have some bad people advising her campaign if the result is such a partisan ad politicizing the coronavirus response at a time when the real leaders like McConnell, Trump, congresspeople and governors of our country are doing all they can to combat this epidemic.

We would advise McGrath to respect DeWine’s wishes and take his image off her ad, quit playing politics during a national epidemic and do something beneficial to help instead of running partisan and misleading ads that try to paint her as a moderate, which is something she definitely is not – as her own words have proven.

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