President Donald Trump struck back at Cindy McCain for endorsing his political rival, saying she ‘can have Sleepy Joe’ Biden, who he described as John McCain’s ‘lapdog.’
The president’s tweet came as McCain, the widow of the late senator, made the rounds of the morning TV shows to tout her endorsement of Biden, which was a blow to the president’s re-election bid.
‘I hardly know Cindy McCain other than having put her on a Committee at her husband’s request,’ Trump tweeted. ‘Joe Biden was John McCain’s lapdog. So many BAD decisions on Endless Wars & the V.A., which I brought from a horror show to HIGH APPROVAL.’
‘Never a fan of John,’ he added. ‘Cindy can have Sleepy Joe!’
Cindy McCain’s endorsement of Biden, a longtime friend of her husband, came in response to the president calling members of the military ‘losers’ and ‘suckers,’ allegations published in The Atlantic last month that Trump has denied.
The McCain family has long tradition of military service. Two of Cindy McCain’s sons served in the military.
She said the allegations in The Atlantic piece were ‘pretty much,’ the last straw for her.
In her series of interviews, McCain spoke from her Arizona home with a blue star flag visible behind her – which represents that the family has members who served in the military.
She said she was ‘deeply concerned’ about the country.
‘Joe Biden represents to me the kinds of values and integrity and courage that we want in a president,’ she told NBC’s ‘Today Show’ on Wednesday morning.
McCain, who has largely stayed out of politics since her husband died in 2018, hinted at where her feelings lay when she appeared in a video for Biden during the August Democratic National Convention.
Her formal endorsement came Tuesday night.
‘My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden,’ she tweeted on Tuesday evening, a few hours after Biden made the surprising announcement about her endorsement during a virtual fundraiser.
Donald Trump lashed out at Cindy McCain Wednesday after she endorsed Joe Biden claiming he was ‘never a fan of John’
Biden revealed Tuesday that the late Senator John McCain’s widow was giving her support to his campaign citing reported criticisms the president levied on military members
Although Cindy vouched for Biden in video remarks at the virtual Democratic National Convention last month, she did not endorse him at the time.
Trump has long criticized the late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain both before and after his death, including bashing him for his military service for becoming a prisoner of war.
While campaigning for the 2016 presidential race, he said of McCain: ‘I like people who weren’t captured.’
Biden said Cindy was endorsing him because of a report from The Atlantic claiming Trump called those who serve in the military ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’
The president has denied this report and even some of his staunch critics claim they never heard him say anything like that.
‘Maybe I shouldn’t say it but I’m about to go on one of these Zooms with John McCain’s wife, who is first time ever is endorsing me because of what he talks about with my son and John’s who are heroes, who served their country, you know he said they’re losers, they’re suckers,’ Biden said on the fundraising call.
Beau Biden, the late son of the former vice president, and McCains’ two sons – John Sidney McCain IV and James McCain – have all served in uniform.
Cindy McCain, who has largely stayed out of politics after her husband’s death, told the Arizona Republic her endorsement had nothing to do with John McCain’s treatment at the hands of the president.
‘It had nothing to do with John McCain at all; it had everything to do with how I felt and how I’m feeling, especially during these tough times,’ she said, pointing to Biden’s respect for the military.
‘That’s really important to my family,’ she said. ‘Our members of the military are not losers. They’re not losers. You call one a loser, you call all the members of the military losers, including my son.’
In her statement endorsing Biden, she noted their political differences but praised him as a fellow parent who has sent a child off to war.
‘Joe and I don’t always agree on the issues, and I know he and John certainly had some passionate arguments, but he is a good and honest man. He will lead us with dignity,’ Cindy McCain wrote on Twitter.
‘He will be a commander in chief that the finest fighting force in the history of the world can depend on, because he knows what it is like to send a child off to fight,’ she added.
Biden responded to her tweet with one of his own: ‘Cindy — I’m deeply honored to have your support and your friendship. This election is bigger than any one political party. It requires all of us to come together as one America to restore the soul of the nation. Together, we’ll get it done.’
Her decision caps a years long feud between the McCain family and President Trump.
McCain was one of the most prominent, respected Republican senators in the nation but repeatedly butted heads with Trump before his death in 2018. The relationship was so bad the bickering continues to this day. Now his widow is endorsing the Democratic candidate for president.
Biden, served in the Senate for decades with McCain and the two had overlapping interests, particularly in foreign policy.
The men became close and Biden gave one of the eulogies at McCain’s funeral service in Arizona.
The Biden campaign did not immediately provide specifics about Cindy McCain’s endorsement other than what Biden revealed on the call.
Cindy McCain vouched for Biden during the Democratic convention
Cindy McCain also cut a video for Biden at his mostly virtual convention last month. She spoke about how Biden met McCain back when he was assigned to be a military aide on a congressional trip overseas. The two became friends and the families would picnic together.
‘They would just sit and joke. It was like a comedy show, sometimes, to watch the two of them,’ she said.
She did not appear the convention but made sure her voice was heard.
Joe Biden said in late August he planned to visit Arizona, the McCain’s home state, after Labor Day. No visit has been announced but it would make a likely location for Cindy McCain to appear in public with Biden.
Democrats are hopeful they can pick up Arizona this year.
Except for Bill Clinton’s win in 1996, Arizona has voted Republican since 1952. Trump had made several campaign visits to the state as has Vice President Mike Pence. Ivanka Trump was there last week.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) receives the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Back in April – before Trump’s reported comments – Cindy McCain said Biden was a ‘wonderful man and a dear friend of the McCain family.’
‘However,’ she added that ‘I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.’
Biden said her change of heart came after The Atlantic reported last month, quoting sources with knowledge of the situation, that Trump had called fallen troops ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’
One instance related to Trump’s scrubbed trip to the Aisne-Marne cemetery in France. The White House denied it.
John McCain, the son of a Navy admiral was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, touted his service throughout his life. Trump mocked him in the 2016, saying ‘I like people who weren’t captured.’
McCain’s daughter Meghan, a Trump critic who has bashed the president on ABC’s ‘The View,’ spoke about her own preferences back in April.
‘It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist’ to know her intentions, she said. ‘There’s one man who has made pain in my life a living hell and another man who has literally shepherded me through the grief process,’ she said.
Trump and the late senator had a long history of enmity with the president targeting McCain both before and after his death.
In 2015, as a Republican presidential candidate, Trump said McCain – who spent five and half years in captivity during the Vietnam War – wasn’t a hero ‘because he was captured. I like people who weren´t captured.’
In July 2017, McCain, in his last vote as a senator, angered Trump when he gave a dramatic thumbs down to vote against repealing President Obama’s healthcare law. McCain was the deciding vote.
When McCain died on a Saturday in 2018 after suffering from brain cancer, the Trump administration lowered the flag over the White House to half-staff but had raised it by Monday.
There was a public outcry and the flag was eventually lowered again. Trump pointedly wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral, which took place in Washington’s National Cathedral.
Instead McCain was eulogized by Obama, who defeated him in the 2008 presidential race with Biden as his running mate, and former President George W. Bush, who defeated McCain in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Bill and Hillary Clinton were also in attendance as was a who’s who in the political world.
Biden gave a eulogy for McCain at a memorial service for him in Arizona ahead of his formal state funeral. Biden was a pallbearer for McCain during the service at Washington’s National Cathedral.
Cindy McCain with her son John McCain IV at the senator’s funeral service in August 2018
Joe Biden seen with his son Beau, who died in 2015, at Camp Victory outside Baghdad on July 4, 2009
Even after his death, Trump continued to attack John McCain, going after him in March 2019 for his role in the Justice Department investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. During that contest, McCain received a copy of the unverified Christopher Steele dossier – which claimed that the Russians had blackmail material on Trump – and turned it over to then-FBI director James Comey. Later a longtime McCain aide, David Kramer, admitted he circulated it to several news organizations.
And during Trump’s May 2019 visit to Japan, the White House asked the U.S. Navy to move ‘out of sight’ the warship USS John S. McCain ahead of President Trump’s visit to the shipyard at the Yokosuka Naval Base, where several American battleships were docked.
The ship is actually named after three McCains who served in the Navy: the late senator, as well as his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., an admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam era.
Trump denied any knowledge of the request. Meghan McCain, in response, called the president a ‘child’ who will not let her late father rest in peace.
‘Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life.
‘There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him. It makes my grief unbearable,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Biden’s campaign has pushed a unity message and he has portrayed himself as someone who can unite the country.
At the Democratic convention, a handful of Republicans endorsed Biden, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, former New York Representative Susan Molinari and former GOP California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who now runs Quibi.