John Ashcroft: Kehoe ads falsely claim Jay Ashcroft backed Missouri land sales to China when it was Kehoe who did

My wife, Janet, and I have known Mike and Claudia Kehoe for many years, and we’ve appreciated our acquaintance. Of course, we are disappointed that Mike and our son, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, are facing each other in the Republican primary for Missouri governor. But we, as Republicans, expected a campaign based on facts and the mutual respect our two families have maintained for decades.

You can imagine our shock and disappointment when we saw new TV ads from the Kehoe campaign accusing Jay of supporting the sale of Missouri land to China.

Let me be clear: these ads are false.

Jay has never supported the sale of our land to China. To the contrary, he drafted legislation — introduced and passed by the Missouri House of Representatives — that would have prohibited the sale of any land not merely to China, but also to North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and Iran.  No foreign adversary should have the ability to threaten us from our own land or maintain a presence within our borders.

While Lt. Gov. Kehoe’s campaign amusingly uses cattle and transmogrified fish to falsely attack Jay on this issue, what’s not amusing is the compound threat China poses. If anyone foolishly thought the China threat was overblown, awareness of the spy balloon allowed to fly over Missouri while the Chinese Communist Party gathered intelligence from within our borders should have rectified that error.

Facts are stubborn things.

  • Fact: While in the Missouri Senate, Kehoe was instrumental in bringing legislation to the floor that allowed China to buy our land.
  • Fact: He voted twice for the legislation authorizing the sale of Missouri land to China.
  • Fact: After the governor vetoed the bill, Senator Kehoe presided over the Senate, leading an override of the veto.

It’s obvious the Kehoe campaign knows his support of China was a fatal mistake in his career, and in desperation hopes that by falsely attacking Jay it can “muddy the water” – confusing voters about the truth. This is a tactic direct from the Democrat playbook: Mislead voters about your own record by falsely fabricating your opponent’s record. Just as Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of colluding with the Russians while, in fact, it was her campaign that financed the Steele dossier developed by Russian operatives in order to make the false accusations.

These tactics defraud the voters – depriving them of the truth.

The fact is, Jefferson City politicians made a bad decision for short-term political benefit, at the expense of our financial and national security. The decision to open the door to China, or any hostile nation, to our communities is not in our best national security interest.

As United States attorney general during 9/11, and as a member of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate, I have been privy to top secret threat assessments from our various intelligence agencies. I have witnessed evidence of the risks our nation faces – some beyond most citizens’ nightmares. Our national security is more than a mere video game where one’s imagination rules the day. And it is unfortunate to see national security disinformation peddled by one of the top Republican officials in our state.

Lt. Gov. Kehoe may claim he has nothing to do with these ads, yet the ads are run on his behalf and funded by the money he’s raised. He’s done nothing to repudiate them, though he plainly knows they are false.

Missourians deserve candidates of integrity – who respect voters enough to speak to them truthfully. In this respect Mike Kehoe has failed.


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