Senator Kelly Loeffler, a proud hater of communism who has been accused of profiting off of the covid-19 pandemic, has a portrait of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong hanging proudly in her home. This fun little factoid was brought up by Rep. Doug Collins on Monday during a virtual debate between the top five contenders in Georgia’s U.S. Senate special election.
Loeffler and Collins are both vying for Republican support and spent much of the debate arguing over who blindly agrees with President Trump the most. But the debate took a personal turn when the subject of China emerged. Libertarian candidate Brian Slowinski requested Loeffler to make clear that she condemns the politics of the Chinese Communist Party, not China or the Chinese people as her rhetoric surrounding covid-19 and other foreign policy matters may suggest. Slowinski said her comments fuel racism against Chinese people and demanded she apologize to his four adopted Chinese children.
Loeffler said she wants to “hold China accountable” and “stand up for America” but insisted that there’s “no place for discrimination or hate.”
Collins saw Loeffler’s response as an opportunity.
“Kelly, you talk tough about China, but you refuse to d-list corporations that are owned by the Chinese Communist Party from the New York Stock Exchange, which you own,” Collins said, referencing Loeffler’s husband, NYSE Chair Jeffrey Sprecher who notably donated a whopping $5 million to his wife’s Senate campaign.
Collins continued: “So I have a question for you: Do you still have that $56,000 portrait of Chairman Mao hanging in your foyer as seen on social media?”
Loeffler bristled, saying that Georgians are “tired of lies” and that Governor Kemp appointed her to take the place of her predecessor, Sen. Johnny Isakson, because she is “the true conservative in this race.”
“You’ve attacked my hair, my makeup, my clothes,” Loeffler said. “You’ve lied about me, you’ve lied about my family. And let me tell you, here’s the truth: I’m here because I’ve earned everything I got.”
Whether Loeffler actually earned the over $500 million to her name is certainly up for debate (one that, perhaps, Mao would like to weigh in on), but one thing is certain: She didn’t deny owning that portrait.
The Mao portrait in question appears to be an Andy Warhol screenprint from 1972 titled “Mao: one plate (F. & S. II.96).” The fine art auction house Christie’s is currently selling a copy of the portrait, estimating its worth between $30,000 and $50,000.
Collins was eager to provide the photo evidence of the Mao portrait via Twitter in predictably alarmist right-wing fashion on Tuesday. He tweeted: “Chinese dictator Mao may have killed more babies than the Democrat party. Something that’s sadly, very hard to do. Why @KLoeffler, did you buy a $56,000 portrait and hang it in your Atlanta mansion?”
Regardless, it’s safe to say that nobody is calling Loeffler a comrade just because she has a Warhol portrait in her home.
While Collins trolls Loeffler and Loeffler continues to play Yes Woman for President Trump, one of their Democratic competitors, Rev. Raphael Warnock, is consolidating Democratic support in a state that is becoming increasingly purple. Nice to know that Georgia Republicans have their priorities in order.