John McCain’s rival says pre-death announcement was timed to hurt her campaign

By @chelean on
Kelli Ward
Kelli Ward campaigns at the Gunsite academy in her bid to become the Republican nominee for an open Senate seat in Paulden, Arizona, U.S. August 24, 2018. Reuters/Conor Ralph

John McCain’s political rival had suggested the Arizona senator’s announcement that he was stopping medical treatment for his cancer was timed to hurt her campaign. Kelli Ward apparently thought McCain, who died Saturday, had a hidden agenda in his announcement.

On Friday, McCain’s family said the 81-year-old former naval officer would be ending his treatment for brain cancer. McCain had been undergoing cancer treatment since being diagnosed last year. However, although he had responded well to the treatment, he had opted not to continue with it anymore.

John McCain FILE PHOTO - U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listens as he is being introduced at a campaign rally in Denver, Colorado October 24, 2008.  Reuters/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Ward, who is in a three-way race for the Republican Senate seat in Arizona’s primary, believed that the timing of McCain’s statement was suspect. She felt that it was deliberately planned to hurt her campaign.

In a comment she made on one of her campaign staffers’ post, Ward questioned whether the McCain family’s statement being released on the same day that she was kicking off her campaign bus tour was just a coincidence or it if was a “plan to take the media attention off her campaign?”

“I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me,” Ward replied to the post, which has since been deleted. The Arizona Republic has captured a screenshot of the exchange.

Ward followed up her comment with a kinder one toward McCain but blaming the media for allegedly creating a narrative.

“The media loves a narrative. I’ve said again and again to pray for Senator McCain & his family. These decisions are terrible to have to make. I feel compassion for him and his family as they go through this. It’s not the McCains creating a narrative — it’s the media making something out of nothing,” she wrote, as quoted by the Arizona Republic.

When McCain’s death was announced later, she posted her condolences on Twitter.

The insensitive remark isn’t the first one that Ward ever made on McCain, who died just hours after Ward’s comment. Ward aligns herself with US President Donald Trump, who in turn had diminished McCain’s accomplishments as a navy and sufferings as a prisoner of war in the ‘60s.

According to CNN, she called on McCain to step down last year. She called him old and near “the end of life” and so he must resign immediately.

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