Republican leaders in Washington have been slowly backing away from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy, but one powerful Republican senator is running from Trump as quickly as possible.
Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, won the Republican primary and promptly began distancing himself from Trump. McCain believes two things: Trump is going to lose to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and that to win a sixth term in the senate he must distance himself from Trump long before the November election. To accomplish this goal McCain has released a new campaign video predicated on Hillary Clinton winning the White House.
In the video McCain says, “My opponent, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, is a good person. But if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check and not a rubber stamp for the White House.”
Why would McCain say “if Hillary Clinton is elected” if he did not believe she was going to win? Throwing in the towel early on Trump’s candidacy is a strategy that has been deployed by Republicans in the past, particularly when GOP Sen. Bob Dole was clearly going to lose to President Bill Clinton in 1996. Republicans cast themselves as a check against Clinton’s second term, rather than as being eager for a Dole presidency.
However, McCain’s flipflop on Trump may come back to bite him from voters who are paying attention to his rhetoric. As McCain’s Democratic rival has pointed out, “John McCain has pledged to support Donald Trump over 50 times.” For McCain to suddenly pull his support in favor of political self-preservation is not something which either side of the aisle will look favorably upon.
Watch McCain’s very telling campaign ad below: