McSally spoke with Trump, said McCain deserved respect

McSally spoke with Trump, said McCain deserved respect
© Greg Nash

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Eleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats brace for New Hampshire results MORE (R-Ariz.) spoke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE about the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix Moderate Democrats now in a race against the clock Biden on Graham's push for investigation: 'I don't know what happened' to him MORE (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday, after days of unprecedented attacks by a sitting president on a dead war hero.

McSally, addressing reporters after a meeting with base commanders here Thursday, expanded on a tweet she sent Wednesday in which she called McCain a hero. The tweet did not mention Trump, and in her remarks Thursday she again refrained from criticizing the president.

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"I made it clear, I love John McCain. John McCain is an American hero. This state reveres John McCain, and his family deserves respect by everybody," McSally, who was appointed to the Senate seat once held by McCain late last year after she lost her own Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, said of her conversation with Trump.

She said others, beyond Trump, had disrespected McCain and his family, though she offered no specifics about others disparaging the long-serving senator whose seat she now holds.

"There's a lot of disrespect going on out there all the way around. I did talk to the president yesterday. I wanted to make sure he understood how I felt about Sen. McCain and how Arizona felt about Sen. John McCain, and he heard me," said McSally, who faces a reelection race next year.

Asked what Trump's response was, McSally said only: "He heard me."

Trump's attacks on the late senator have flummoxed members of his own party, his own administration and even veterans groups who backed him in the 2016 presidential contest. Those attacks continued Wednesday at a rally Trump held at a tank factory in Ohio, and again in an interview Trump conducted with Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo.

In that interview, Trump called McCain "horrible" for his 2017 vote against a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Trump on Wednesday falsely claimed he had approved plans for McCain's funeral, held at the National Cathedral in Washington. The cathedral said Thursday a president's approval is not required to host a funeral there. Trump did authorize a government aircraft to transport McCain's body from Arizona to Washington.