POLITICS

Cindy McCain Defends Husband After CPAC Speaker Blasts 'Ghost Of John McCain'

The late senator's wife had a terse but tart response to the criticism.

Cindy McCain hit back at a conservative pundit on Saturday who attacked “the ghost” of her late husband in remarks at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington. 

Right-wing firebrand Michelle Malkin told the CPAC crowd that she blamed congressional Democrats and Republicans ― including “the ghost of John McCain” ― for failing to enact stricter immigration legislation.

“Remember when Congress promised that they were going to enact a nationwide visa entry-exit system to track legal short-term visa holders?... One has yet to be built ... Both parties are to blame,” Malkin said. “And yes, I’m looking at you retired (House 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.” 

The crowd cheered loudly, with some giving her a standing ovation, as Malkin called out the members of the Republican establishment and ended with the mention of McCain, who died last year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain was often the focus of criticisms from President Donald Trump, who stirred controversy early in his White House campaign when he said the longtime Arizona senator was “not a war hero” because he was captured during the Vietnam War. McCain left the president off the list of people he wanted to attend his funeral; he asked former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush to eulogize him instead.

After Malkin’s remarks made headlines, McCain’s wife, Cindy, responded to the conservative pundit.

“You never knew Sen. John McCain,” McCain wrote on Twitter. “You should be so lucky.” 

Malkin’s comments were echoed as the conference concluded when Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said the pundit was right to call out McCain and other Republican leaders. 

McCain’s daughter Meghan also made her disdain for those comments known. The “View” co-host responded to conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey on Sunday, accusing Malkin and Pirro of using “the ghost” of her late father as “ghoulish and deeply disturbed political propaganda.”

This story has been updated with a response from Meghan McCain.

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