USA TODAY US Edition

Cindy McCain en­dorses Bi­den

She cites the Demo­crat’s ‘honor and in­tegrity’

- Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Ronald J. Hansen The Ari­zona Repub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Cindy Hensley McCain · John McCain · Joe Biden · Republican Party (United States) · Donald Trump · Arizona · United States of America · United States Armed Forces · White House · United States Senate · Mark E. Kelly · NASA · Gabrielle Giffords · Politics in Blogs · Democratic Party (United States) · Washington · McCains · Cornville, AZ · Martha McSally · Cornville, ME

Prais­ing Joe Bi­den as a long­time fam­ily friend and an ally to mil­i­tary fam­i­lies such as hers, Cindy McCain, the woman Repub­li­cans wanted to make first lady in 2008, en­dorsed the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Tues­day, a few weeks be­fore Ari­zo­nans will be­gin vot­ing.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had a stormy ri­valry with her hus­band, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that lin­gered even af­ter McCain’s death in 2018. Anony­mous sources claimed to The At­lantic that Trump ridiculed McCain and oth­ers in the mil­i­tary.

Cindy McCain told The Ari­zona Repub­lic in an in­ter­view Tues­day that her en­dorse­ment is in part at­trib­ut­able to the char­ac­ter she sees in Bi­den, who, like her, is a par­ent to mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

The de­ci­sion, she said, was not about honoring her hus­band’s legacy. This was about her.

“I’m like every­body else: I like a good leader, and I feel like right now, the pres­i­dent doesn’t have my back, he doesn’t take a stand on things that are re­ally im­por­tant, and we have a time of cri­sis,” McCain said. “I’m wor­ried that this could go fur­ther than it should. My point in get­ting on board with Joe is that he’s proven – he’s been there. I’ve known him for 40 years. I know his char­ac­ter and his lead­er­ship and his honor and his in­tegrity, and those things are very im­por­tant to me.”

McCain said she will re­main a reg­is­tered Repub­li­can. She said Bi­den prac­tices the kind of bi­par­ti­san pol­i­tics her hus­band did: “Joe shares our val­ues and our con­cerns, and he cares about us. I’m a mother, I’m a busi­ness owner, I’m the mother of two mil­i­tary men, and I want some­one that un­der­stands me and un­der­stands what’s go­ing on and knows what it takes to re­ally make the tough de­ci­sions.”

She said Bi­den did not ask for her en­dorse­ment but was “ex­cited” when she told him a few weeks ago.

“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, not­ing 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.”

Bi­den leads in na­tional polls and more nar­rowly in Ari­zona, which is likely to be a crit­i­cal bat­tle­ground for the White House.

Bi­den an­nounced the en­dorse­ment ear­lier in the day, say­ing she backed him be­cause of The At­lantic’s ar­ti­cle.

“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 Tues­day at a fundraiser. Trump de­nied the al­le­ga­tions in the ar­ti­cle.

McCain largely avoided the dis­putes be­tween Trump and her hus­band. Through­out her pub­lic life, she has ad­vo­cated for less-par­ti­san causes, such as end­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing and aid to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

McCain could help Democrats reach un­de­cided in­de­pen­dent vot­ers and Repub­li­cans un­easy with Trump, the kind who sup­ported John McCain for more than three decades.

McCain said she hopes her en­dorse­ment gives vot­ers the courage to cross party lines, par­tic­u­larly women.

“It is OK to look out­side the box, it is OK to cross a party line and vote for some­one else that’s per­haps not of your party but is per­haps a bet­ter can­di­date,” she said. “I hope I have an im­pact, I hope what I’m do­ing is im­por­tant and I just hope that Joe wins.”

McCain ap­peared in a video played dur­ing the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion last month that paid trib­ute to her hus­band and the long friendship he and Bi­den main­tained in Wash­ing­ton. That video, over­laid with pho­tos and footage of the two men, sought to re­mind Amer­ica that bi­par­ti­san­ship and col­le­gial­ity are pos­si­ble in pol­i­tics. It stopped short of an en­dorse­ment of Bi­den.

The McCain-Bi­den friendship ex­tended to their home life: The fam­i­lies cel­e­brated mile­stones, hosted get-to­geth­ers and, at the end of John’s life at the McCains’ home in Cornville, Ari­zona, re­flected on their ad­ven­tures.

McCain joins more than 100 for­mer staffers and cam­paign work­ers of her late hus­band to en­dorse Bi­den.

McCain, along with her daugh­ter, TV com­men­ta­tor Meghan McCain, have been out­spo­ken crit­ics against Trump, whose feud with the sen­a­tor dated to 2015, when Trump launched his first pres­i­den­tial bid. These days, the McCain women tend to speak out against Trump only when he re-airs his griev­ances.

Cindy McCain did not weigh in on Ari­zona’s U.S. Se­nate spe­cial elec­tion, in which two well-funded can­di­dates vie to fill the re­main­der of her late hus­band’s term.

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who lost her 2018 race for the state’s other Se­nate seat, faces an ag­gres­sive chal­lenge by Demo­cratic can­di­date Mark Kelly, a re­tired NASA as­tro­naut and hus­band of for­mer Rep. Gabrielle Gif­fords, D-Ariz.

McCain told The Repub­lic she would not get in­volved in Ari­zona pol­i­tics this cy­cle.

 ?? DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES ?? Joe Bi­den says Cindy McCain en­dorsed him be­cause Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called mil­i­tary ser­vice­mem­bers “losers.”
DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES Joe Bi­den says Cindy McCain en­dorsed him be­cause Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called mil­i­tary ser­vice­mem­bers “losers.”
 ??  ?? Cindy McCain
Cindy McCain

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