Remember this from this past July? Rep. Martha McSally reveals her uncomfortable position in the Trump era:
A secretly recorded tape of U.S. Rep. Martha McSally talking to potential donors offers a rare glimpse into what the two-term Tucson Republican is thinking in the current political climate.
During the 63-minute recording made in late May at a closed-door meeting in Tucson, McSally tells the Arizona Bankers Association that since January, her critics have painted her with the same brush as President Trump.
“There’s just an element out there that’s just, like, so against the president. Like they just can’t see straight. And all of a sudden on January 20, I’m like his twin sister,” she said, in audio that was recently posted online by a grassroots political group called Indivisible Southern Arizona.
That was then, this is now. Apparently McSally has been to a Breitbart reeducation camp, because she is now making an explicit effort to appear to be Trump’s twin sister in a sadly pathetic attempt to gain Trump’s fickle endorsement for Senate.
Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star reports, Steller’s Friday Notebook: McSally pivots to pro-Trump position:
For some time, I’ve suspected that Rep. Martha McSally is angling for an endorsement from President Trump as she considers jumping into the U.S. Senate race — maybe even as a condition for running.
That would give her a big advantage over the top GOP candidate in the race now, Kelli Ward, who is a devoted fan of the president and was endorsed by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.
I can’t say I’ve confirmed this is what McSally is doing, but on Thursday, she offered one more piece of evidence for the theory. McSally’s Twitter account put out a picture of her with Trump, each with an arm around the other, each giving a thumbs up.
McSally’s text said: “Great meeting with President @realDonaldTrump this a.m. to discuss our tax cuts that will bring relief to hard-working American families!”
This was the fourth tweet naming the president that McSally has posted since Nov. 8; her entire Twitter history shows only one Tweet naming Trump before that.
On Nov. 8, a day I think we may look back on as the day McSally actually began running for Senate, she posted a picture of herself with the president’s older daughter. The text of the tweet said, “Discussing our plan to cut taxes, create jobs & deliver relief to American families w/@IvankaTrump. Let’s get it to @realDonaldTrump’s desk.”
It may seem counterintuitive that McSally, who never endorsed Trump or even said she voted for him, might have a hope for his endorsement. But you should consider his affinity for military officers — think of all the generals he has appointed — and the stories she’s told of impressing Trump with her experience as a fighter pilot.
Also, consider recent history in another contested GOP primary race. In Alabama, Trump endorsed the establishment-allied incumbent Republican, Luther Strange, while Bannon endorsed challenger Roy Moore.
Moore, of course, won the primary, and Trump quickly expressed a sort of regret for endorsing Strange. But look what’s happened to Moore since the Washington Post published allegations of sexual misconduct by him with a 14-year-old girl. Moore has gone from a favorite to someone who may actually hand an Alabama U.S. Senate seat to a Democrat.
The lesson for Trump: Bannon may be wrong sometimes, and the establishment may be right. That’s especially the case when the establishment candidate is a retired military officer.
Let’s put it this way: If McSally is not running for Senate, these tweets and this sudden turn toward embracing Trump will likely foreclose a re-election victory in Congressional District 2. In 2016, that district, which includes much of Tucson and Southeastern Arizona, voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president by about 5 percent while also re-electing the Republican McSally handily.
Whether she wins Trump’s endorsement or not, McSally probably can’t turn back now.
According to 538’s Congress Tracker, Rep. Martha McSally votes wth Trump’s position 96.2% of the time, voting only twice against his position.
One can make the case that McSally is Trump’s twin sister now. It is fair to paint her with the same brush as Trump. “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”