WASHINGTON – Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain of Arizona, officially named Joseph R. Biden Jr. president Tuesday, extolling the “character and integrity” of her late husband’s longtime friend and colleague while expressing her discomfort President Trump expressed.
Ms. McCain, who spoke on a video at Democratic Congress last month, said in a telephone interview that she was unsure of the public role she would play in this year’s campaign. But after reading reports earlier this month describing how Mr. Trump vilified members of the military, she said she was “becoming increasingly frustrated”
“The most important thing that moved me a lot was that troops are ‘losers’,” Ms. McCain said, referring to an article in the Atlantic. “You know we have kids in the military, just like the Bidens.”
She added, “I want my president to have my back and I don’t think that’s the case right now.”
The McCain’s two sons, Jack and James, both served in the armed forces, and Mr. Biden’s son, Beau, served in the National Guard, including a mission to Iraq. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.
Ms. McCain said she plans to actively help Mr. Biden and attend and join virtual campaign events when he appears in Arizona, which is considered a swing state this year.
Her support for the former Vice President, whom she remembered presented to Mr. McCain on a delegation trip to Congress over 40 years ago, was not surprising given her husband’s frequent clashes with Mr. Trump. However, Ms. McCain’s unreserved support and willingness to blunt on Mr. Biden’s name showed just how deeply the articles about Mr. Trump’s disregard for veterans he denies have hit military families.
Some of these reports, including the original revelations in The Atlantic, also portrayed Mr. Trump’s disdain for Mr. McCain. After Mr. McCain’s death in 2018, the magazine reported, citing unidentified people. Mr. Trump got angry when he saw that flags were halfway through the workforce and said, “We are not going to support this loser’s funeral.”
When asked if she had considered Mr Trump’s reaction to her approval from Mr Biden, Ms. McCain said she would just “laugh” if the President attacked her in one of his “5 in the morning” tweets .
She has possibly the greatest influence on her native Arizona, where her family has long owned a beer distribution company and which Mr. McCain has represented in Congress for 35 years.
Mr Biden has competed more aggressively in the state than any other Democratic presidential candidate in recent times, and has participated in every reputable poll in the state that has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. The former vice president now has public support from a number of prominent current and former Arizona Republicans, including former Senator Jeff Flake and former Representative Jim Kolbe, who represented the state for a long time in Congress, and former Attorney General Grant Woods.
If Arizona flips this year, it would make Mr Trump’s voting card a lot harder given his current troubles in the industrialized Midwest, which he barely carried four years ago.
Democrats could also take over the Arizona Senate seat that Mr. McCain held long and that is now held by Senator Martha McSally, who was appointed to replace him.
Ms. McSally has tried to span the more moderate McCain wing of the Republican Party of Arizona and the diehard supporters of Mr. Trump. But their refusal to defend Mr. McCain more vociferously in the face of Mr. Trump’s attacks, which he has continued over the past few weeks, has angered the McCain family.
Ms. McCain asked if she would support Ms. McSally, who consistently lags behind Mark Kelly, the Democratic challenger, in the polls, and flatly said no. “I’m not interested in it,” she said.