Cindy McCain said on Wednesday morning that she is endorsing the Democratic candidate for president in the 2020 election, despite being a lifelong Republican married to the late Republican senator John McCain, because “Joe Biden is the better man”.
McCain made it official on Tuesday evening with a tweet.
“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 Joe Biden,” she posted, in a landmark moment for the Biden election campaign.
On Wednesday she appeared live on the TV breakfast news shows to talk about the endorsement that had been expected, especially after she appeared in a video played at the Democratic national convention last month, but not made official until the evening before.
“I have been watching what is going on and I’m deeply concerned,” McCain told NBC’s Today show.
She never mentioned Donald Trump’s name, but Trump has had a fraught relationship with the McCain family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign.
He has publicly criticized McCain on numerous occasions and was enraged when the senator voted against an effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
And Trump infamously said of John McCain, who was held as a prisoner by the north Vietnamese for more than five years and tortured: “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured … He lost and let us down. I’ve never liked him as much after that. I don’t like losers.”
The president was pointedly not invited to McCain’s funeral in 2018.
Cindy McCain on Wednesday said also that the reports of Trump calling fallen American soldiers losers and suckers was “pretty much” the last straw.
“Joe Biden represents the kind of values and integrity and courage we want in a president and I think would have my back as a citizen. I want to feel like my president’s cares about me,” she told NBC.
She added that Biden has “great empathy for people in this country who are struggling, not just with the Covid-19 crisis but all along the way.”
McCain said she was hoping she could persuade suburban women who are “on the fence” about which way to vote or about voting at all that, if they are Republican, the brave thing to do is “cross the aisle” and vote for Biden, not Trump, this November.
“Joe Biden is the better man,” she said.
Trump has been issuing thinly-veiled racist warnings and appeals to the white suburban vote in recent weeks.
Moments after McCain began her TV interview on Wednesday, Trump tweeted aggressively that “Cindy can have Sleepy Joe” as he has nicknamed Biden, and criticized, effectively, the enduring conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the handling of the Veterans Administration (VA) under previous presidents.
I hardly know Cindy McCain other than having put her on a Committee at her husband’s request. 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. Cindy can have Sleepy Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2020
Asked on ABC’s Good Morning America if she had any comment on Trump’s tweet, McCain scoffed and said: “Huh, I do not have any.”
On the Republicans’ rush to fill the supreme court seat left by the death on Friday of Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, when they had previously blocked Barack Obama’s nominee much further from the 2016 election, McCain said Republicans “believe in what they are doing and that’s their prerogative”.
She added that respect for partisan differences of opinion, listening and reaching across the political aisle was a tradition that John McCain and Biden upheld in the Senate that is being lost in a divided America.