Aides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report
President Trump’s campaign aides attempted to stop him from attacking the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in hopes of clinching Arizona, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Campaign aides reportedly raised various theories about what led to Fox News announcing Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden late Tuesday night, including that Trump did not stop criticizing McCain, a fellow Republican and former prisoner of war, even after he died in 2018.
The Associated Press ultimately joined Fox News in calling the state for Biden.
Some aides told the Times that Trump also had dismissed calls from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and former campaign manager Brad Parscale to spend more time in Arizona during the campaign. The aides said he resisted their requests because he did not like traveling west and spending the night on the road.
Some campaign staff also reportedly questioned the campaign’s spending, proposing that if more money was available to spend in the states Biden barely won, maybe the president could have taken them. But others stood up for the previous spending, as it helped gain Latino support in Florida, the Times reported.
The Trump campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Fox News’s call of Arizona going blue with only 73 percent of the state’s vote counted reportedly left the president and campaign members upset. Adviser Jason Miller challenged the call on Twitter and requested that Fox News retract it.
But Fox News defended the decision, with Arnon Mishkin, the director of the Fox News Decision Desk, going on the air to say, “I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that 7-point lead that the former vice president has.”
The Associated Press also called the state for Biden early Wednesday morning, but other news organizations such as NBC News, CNN and The New York Times have yet to announce.
Sources also told the Times that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reached out to Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch about the network’s projection.
The Times also reported that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) was on the phone all night with administration and campaign officials, saying there were more Republican votes to be counted. The governor took to Twitter late Tuesday and said it was “far too early to call” the presidential race in Arizona.
The campaign was faced with tougher news on Wednesday, as Michigan and Wisconsin were called for the former vice president. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits to stop the vote count in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania.