Cindy McCain, widow of the late U.S. Republican presidential contender John McCain, is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden in the November election, and Republican President Donald Trump says he doesn't care one bit.
Cindy McCain, who spoke on Biden's behalf at the Democratic National Convention last month, said on Twitter late Tuesday, "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."
McCain said that she and Biden "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. 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."
As McCain voiced her support for Biden again Wednesday on morning news shows, Trump said on Twitter, "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 (Veterans Administration), which I brought from a horror show to HIGH APPROVAL. Never a fan of John. Cindy can have Sleepy Joe!"
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
Trump had a stormy relationship with John McCain, disparaging his career as a naval aviator who spent more than five years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war in the 1960s. Later as a senator from Arizona, McCain served for two decades in the U.S. Senate with Biden.
McCain lost the 2008 presidential election to former U.S. President Barack Obama and died from brain cancer in 2018.
In the first weeks of his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump said of McCain, "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
After becoming president, Trump often assailed McCain for casting the deciding vote that spelled defeat for Republican efforts to overturn Obama's signature national health care reforms. McCain had dramatically walked to the front of the Senate chamber late at night and cast his "no" vote by turning his thumb down.
Cindy McCain's endorsement came after a report in the Atlantic magazine, disputed by Trump as untrue, that on a trip to Paris in 2018 he called U.S. casualties from World War I "suckers" and "losers" for fighting in the war and being killed.
Biden accepted her endorsement in a tweet of his own.
"Cindy — I'm deeply honored to have your support and your friendship," Biden said. "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."
More than 100 former McCain staffers also endorsed Biden last month despite having worked to beat him when he was Obama's vice presidential running mate in 2008.
"Given the incumbent president's lack of competent leadership, his efforts to aggravate rather than bridge divisions among Americans, and his failure to uphold American values," they wrote in their endorsement, "we believe the election of former Vice President Biden is clearly in the national interest."
John McCain spent more than 31 years as a senator representing Arizona, a state where Trump and Biden are locked in a tight race. A Washington-Post ABC News poll released Wednesday has them virtually tied, with 49 percent for Trump and 48 percent for Biden.