McGinty speech at Democratic National Convention panned as ‘plastic’
Pennsylvania's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate received blistering reviews on social media Thursday for a speech at the Democratic National Convention attacking election opponent Pat Toomey, whom she described this week during a union event by using a salty expletive.
“Katie McGinty, running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, just gave the Saturday Night Live spoof version of a plastic political stump speech,” Dan Roberts, the Washington bureau chief for London's The Guardian, wrote on Twitter in one of many negative reviews, many of them from credentialed press at the convention.
McGinty spokesman Sean Coit defended the speech.
“We've gotten plenty of good reaction, and we're excited about the opportunity for Katie to talk to the whole state and the whole nation,” he said.
McGinty and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf each spoke to the convention — Wolf during prime time — and each endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Wolf, a businessman before he became the state's commander-in-chief, was better received. He criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's business practices.
“(Trump) stiffed hundreds of small businesses, from plumbers to painters, ruining their companies as he sought to enrich himself,” Wolf told the crowd in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, noting that his former York County-based cabinet company always paid the vendors with whom it contracted.
Wolf said he gave his female employees paid leave when they had children but said Trump has described pregnant workers as an “inconvenience.”
Wolf touted his former company's profit-sharing plan, noting employees received $5,000 on average in 2013.
“Donald Trump? He runs businesses so that they only help — you guessed it — Donald Trump,” Wolf said, adding that Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy six times.
Wolf said Clinton would fight to raise the minimum wage and require equal pay for women and as many as to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Companies would get tax credits worth 15 percent of the profits they shared with workers, he said.
“We need a president who recognizes that an economy that doesn't work for everyone doesn't work at all,” Wolf said.
McGinty took the stage about two hours before Wolf, with the arena not yet filled to capacity.
“We have the most productive economy in the world, but the benefits of that productivity all go to the top. Top executives used to make 30 times the average guy. Now it's over 300 times,” Chester County's McGinty said.
McGinty said Toomey, a Lehigh Valley Republican, made millions working on Wall Street and “he's still selling us the same old trickle down that benefits only the rich.”
In a statement, Toomey wrote that McGinty, the state's former environmental secretary and a former chief of staff for Wolf, has a record of “middle-class job killing regulations, massive tax hikes aimed squarely at middle-class pocketbooks and using government service to enrich herself.”
Aside from a smattering of applause from the Pennsylvania delegation during her six-minute speech, the rest of the crowd appeared to mostly ignore it based on the growing din. The only significant applause came when the speech ended.Nick Riccardi of The Associated Press wrote, “Wow this lady cannot deliver a speech.”
Toomey's campaign aggregated a collection of nearly two dozen of the worst reviews, which McGinty spokesman Coit downplayed.
Coit said Toomey “literally ran and hid” from the Republican National Convention. Toomey was one of many current and former Republican elected officials who did not attend the GOP convention where Donald Trump received the party's nomination.
“The idea that they'll criticize Katie is laughable,” Coit said. “OK, so they found 20 snarky comments from reporters. I'm sure you could find 20 great comments, too.”
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer.