Cindy McCain‘s husband, the late Sen. John McCain, was once the standard-bearer of the Republican Party. But now, she admits, she doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with what conservatives, led by President Donald Trump, are doing.
Appearing on last week’s episode of Politico’s Women Rule podcast, Cindy, 65, also talked about what she called a lack of decorum in politics now.
“I truly believe that we need to take a step back, take a breath,” she said. “The inability to even discuss differing issues, it’s degenerated into name-calling and Twitter responses and all of these things that not only do not help the argument, but they don’t help foster good relationships with people.”
“It’s important for me that people take a look at civility and remember we’re all on the same team: Team USA,” she said.
Cindy went on to add that she thought Trump — who has continuously attacked her husband since his death last year — has helped exacerbate the lack of bipartisanship.
“We have some serious things happening both within and outside our country and to not even be able to sit in the same room with each other is ridiculous,” she said. “It’s childish in my opinion.”
Later on in the podcast, Cindy opened up about how the changes among Republicans could push Arizona toward Democrats in the future. (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was narrowly elected there last fall.)
“We have a huge Hispanic population now that have found their voice in politics,” Cindy said, noting that the local Republican Party is “not functioning well, and it’s excluding people.”
“That’s just not right. That’s not the party that my husband and I belonged to,” she said. “I can see [Arizona] going Democrat, I really can. I’m not saying I want that, but I can see it happening.”
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Trump and Sen. McCain clashed repeatedly before the Arizona lawmaker’s death in August 2018. The president repeatedly lambasted the late senator’s political choices and mocked him for being a prisoner-of-war while fighting in Vietnam, and McCain famously helped doom the president’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Trump’s attacks have continued despite McCain’s death, drawing much criticism.
In March, the president accused him of leaking a dossier about Trump’s Russia connections, and he also wrongly claimed that McCain graduated last in his class at the United States Naval Academy.
During an interview with Fox Business Network earlier this year, Trump said that the reason why he continued to attack McCain was because the press kept bringing up the subject — even though Trump has a history of mentioning McCain unprompted.
“He was horrible, what he did with repeal and replace,” the president said. “What he did to the Republican Party and to the nation and to sick people that could have had great healthcare was not good.”
“I’m not a fan of John McCain, and that’s fine,” he added.
Since her husband’s death, Cindy has repeatedly stressed the importance of not letting political differences get in the way of the greater good. In August, the McCains launched the #ActsOfCivility campaign in his honor.
“John believed the dignity he possessed was no less and no greater than any other person’s and that the responsibility to defend human dignity — all human dignity — from abuse by tyranny was as much his responsibility as anyone else’s. He expected us to believe the same,” she wrote in a personal essay for PEOPLE a year after his death.
“He wanted us to fight about solutions to our problems and the means to further our ideals. But he wanted us to recognize that however sharp our disagreements, our shared moral heritage was stronger and more enduring,” she wrote. “We owe each other the respect of assuming each of us has value to give to our country and its causes. That respect is the essence of the civility we see too little of these days.”