Michelle Malkin digs in on jab at 'the ghost of John McCain'

Michelle Malkin digs in on jab at 'the ghost of John McCain'
© Greg Nash

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin on Saturday refused to apologize for criticizing the "ghost" of late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral Trump's approval rating stable at 45 percent GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' MORE (R-Ariz.) last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

“I’ve always had my heart in the place of the grassroots of the conservative movement, not the Republican Party and elites,” Malkin said on Fox News, adding that people would understand why the audience was cheering if they watched her full speech at CPAC.

Malkin argued that "big business Republicans" were selling out the American public, before accusing the media of trying to turn her comments into a "stupid catfight" rather than focusing on immigration issues. 

“The fact is that the ghost of John McCain and all of the other big business, Chamber of Commerce-type of Republicans that have been selling out the American people, that’s where the Republican Party needs to reconnect, and they can’t simply rely on the Democrat Party falling apart," she said. 

Malkin later doubled down when asked about the reactions her comments sparked from McCain's family. 

"I think that the big business Republicans in the Chamber of Commerce and the people who are blocking the agenda that put Trump in office should apologize to America," Malkin said. 

Malkin prompted widespread criticism from Republicans and Democrats earlier this month after making a reference to McCain's "ghost" while condemning Republicans for failing to take substantive action on immigration. 

“Sanctuary cities have metastasized and both parties are to blame,” Malkin said. “And yes, I’m looking at you, retired [Speaker] Paul Ryan; and yes, I’m looking at you, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell; and yes, I’m looking at you, Bush family; and yes, I’m looking at you, the ghost of John McCain," Malkin said, as she looked and pointed a finger upward. 

The remarks prompted a wave of applause from the crowd. 

McCain, a longtime U.S. senator who won the Republican nomination for president in 2008, died in 2018 of brain cancer. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The late senator's wife, Cindy McCain, denounced Malkin's comments, tweeting, “@michellemalkin You never knew @SenJohnMcCain. You should be so lucky."

Meghan McCain, McCain's daughter, called the remarks "ghoulish." 

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, called Malkin's comments a low point for the entire conservative conference. 

"There were a lot of low points there for a conference I used to go to every year," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "The worst of course was the celebration of John McCain’s death and the fact that the announcement of John McCain’s death, the mocking and the attacking of John McCain’s ghost caused the people of CPAC to rise to their feet in a thunderous applause."