In what the Washington Examiner calls “an extraordinary snub” to President Trump, Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain and daughter Meghan, 34, “will offer their public support” to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign at some point during the White House race in 2020. Cindy and Meghan McCain seemed to dispute the report on Twitter, Wednesday afternoon, but the Examiner has not retracted their report. According to their sources, the McCain women plan to back Biden in the crowded primary race, as well as the general election in hopes of unseating Trump.
A former McCain campaign official with close ties to the family said support for Biden was a given, but they needed to calculate how they could best help the former vice president. Both Cindy and Meghan McCain remain Republicans, and one consideration is whether endorsing Biden in the Democratic primary could do him more harm than good. “It’s undeniable that Joe Biden and the McCain family have a very close, personal relationship. It’s about what’s good for him [Biden].”
Another McCain family source said there had been discussions with the Bidens about his 2020 run, which is expected to be announced on Thursday. “They talk regularly and have been supportive of his run,” the source said. “The question is going to be timing and coordinating with the Biden campaign. There are a lot of moving parts there and [Biden’s campaign is] not necessarily organized. I wouldn’t expect a formal family endorsement because some of McCain’s family is still in the military, but I do expect Cindy to speak out at some point.”
The source said they expected Meghan McCain to speak out in favor of Biden should he get the nomination, but a Cindy McCain endorsement could come sooner.
A Biden campaign source said that Biden himself had talked about his support from the McCains and had discussed whether family members should appear with him during the Democratic primary battle. Biden canceled a launch event scheduled for Wednesday in Charlottesville, Va., and is now due to announce his candidacy via video on Thursday before appearing in Pennsylvania on Monday.
Another former senior McCain aide wondered whether support from the late senator’s family would help Biden in a crowded Democratic primary with most other candidates running to his left: “I’m just not sure how much that helps in a primary where the party is constantly moving towards the left. If you’re a two-term former vice president and basically tied with Bernie Sanders, that’s not a good sign.”
Cindy McCain threw cold water on the notion that she would be getting involved in presidential politics, but did not specifically rule out an endorsement.
Joe Biden is a wonderful man and dear friend of the McCain Family. However, I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) April 24, 2019
Meghan McCain retweeted her mother’s tweet.
Trump and the McCain clan have reportedly feuded since 2000, when Trump first considered a presidential run and began questioning McCain’s military service because he was ‘captured’ during the Vietnam War.
The feud escalated in 2016 after Trump suggested that McCain wasn’t a hero because the senator was captured in Vietnam. He also accused McCain of being “weak” on immigration and implied that he was an “incompetent” senator.
While Trump may be guilty of badmouthing the late senator, McCain took the war of words a step further by disseminating the unverified “dirty dossier” authored by former British spy Christopher Steele to key government officials and media operatives. McCain associate David Kramer admitted in a Dec. 13, 2017, deposition that he provided the dossier to multiple journalists at outlets including CNN, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post, as well as to State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
McCain skipped the Republican convention in 2016, when Trump received their party’s presidential nomination. After the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, McCain said it was “impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy” and that he could vote for neither Hillary Clinton nor Trump. McCain on Election Day refused to say he voted for Trump, while Meghan McCain said she voted for Evan McMullin, an independent.
Things came to a head after Trump took office and McCain — to Trump’s fury — helped doom the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare. Trump was not invited to the senator’s funeral, during which Meghan McCain delivered pointed jabs at the president, saying: “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege.”
Whether or not the Republican McCain women will back a liberal Democrat in the 2020 presidential race remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure — it would be just one more volley in the ongoing battle between Trump and the McCain family.
(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)