More Mao: Collins ad blasts Loeffler for portrait of ‘brutal mass murderer’
Congressman Barry Loudermilk speaks with Vice President Mike Pence (second from left) as U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler speaks with Congressman Doug Collins (right) after Pence arrived on Air Force Two at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo: JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM)
Republican Doug Collins is sharpening his China-related attacks on U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler with a new ad Thursday that skewers her for a portrait of “history’s most brutal mass murderer” at her Buckhead estate.
The 30-second TV ad draws a line between the picture of former Chinese Communist dictator Mao Zedong and Collins' calls for the New York Stock Exchange – which is owned by Loeffler’s husband’s firm – to de-list Chinese state-owned companies.
“Her love of their money explains the Chinese flag Loeffler hung on her New York Stock Exchange,” said the narrator. “And Loeffler’s refusal to cut ties with China-controlled companies that make her millions. Because Kelly Loeffler is a fake conservative who looks out for herself.”
In a scramble for conservative voters, Loeffler and Collins have given China top billing ahead of the Nov. 3 special election. The Republicans are competing for a spot in a likely January runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock, who has a solid lead in recent polls.
The clash over the portrait first emerged Monday during the Atlanta Press Club debate when Collins quizzed Loeffler about whether she still has “the $56,000 portrait of Chairman Mao hanging in your foyer, as was seen on social media.”
A Collins aide said the picture he referred to came from a now-deleted 2018 Facebook photo that was taken down shortly after the congressman mentioned it during the debate. The photo was taken in front of what looked like an Andy Warhol painting or print of Mao Zedong that was inspired by President Richard Nixon’s landmark visit to China in 1972.
Loeffler’s spokesman initially suggested the image was “photoshopped.” He said Wednesday that the senator and her husband do not own the Mao portrait, but that it was unclear whether it was on display in their Atlanta estate in the past.
Her campaign has countered by bringing up a Senate bill she co-sponsored that would impose stricter requirements on publicly traded companies with ties to the Chinese government, a measure that’s pending in the U.S. House.
Collins and Loeffler both raised roughly $2 million in the three-month period between July and September. But Loeffler has heavily outspent her rival on the airwaves thanks to a $20 million cash infusion from her own account.
The congressman hopes to counter that onslaught with attention-grabbing ads. His spokesman, Dan McLagan, said the Republican’s latest ad will show Loeffler’s “determination to follow the adage to ‘dance with the Yuan who brung ya.’”
Watch the ad, “American," here:
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.