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Sen. McSally on Trump attacks against John McCain: ‘It pisses me off’

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. prepares to debate Democratic challenger Mark Kelly at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

PHOENIX — In a rare defiance of the president, Republican Sen. Martha McSally denounced attacks Donald Trump has made against late Sen. John McCain during Tuesday’s debate with Democratic challenger Mark Kelly.

“I’ve publicly and privately repeatedly talked to President Trump and asked him to stop attacking John McCain,” McSally said. “Quite frankly, it pisses me off when he does it.”

Trump’s attacks against the former Republican senator haven’t landed well in Arizona, especially with veterans.

That includes McSally, a one-time fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force who is currently occupying the Senate seat once held by McCain.

The assaults against McCain ratcheted up ahead of Trump’s first campaign in 2016.

During that campaign, Trump said of McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

More recently, Trump reportedly made comments mocking the American war dead.

Trump has denied making the remarks, first reported through anonymous sources by The Atlantic, but many of the comments were later confirmed by The Associated Press.

McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, officially endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president in late September, saying she wasn’t changing parties but could not support Trump.

Trump wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral in 2018.

“It’s been an honor to work with John McCain,” McSally said. “I learned from him as a cadet in the military about what he endured as a POW. Let’s let him rest in peace.”

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