The humiliation(?) of Martha McSally

The humiliation(?) of Martha McSally

Lotta chatter last night about how Trump introduced her at yesterday’s rally in Arizona, with some comparing it to how one might call a dog to come. Having watched the clip, I didn’t take it that way.

But it does seem as if she wasn’t scheduled to speak and he decided, impromptu, to give her a turn at the mic — which would be strange, since other Republican pols and Trump hangers-on attending the rally were given some time. Rand Paul said a few words, Mike Lee said a few, even Nigel Farage(!). McSally’s the one running for reelection in AZ, though, and having a hell of a time trying to overcome Democrat Mark Kelly. If anyone should have been given priority for a moment in the spotlight with the president, it’s her.

In the end, Farage got more speaking time than she did.

I thought he was just being playful in telling her to hustle, but the part where he slips in “They don’t want to hear this” is odd. One Arizona columnist titled her piece about the incident today, “Trump’s disrespect of Sen. Martha McSally was painful to watch.” Was he pissed off at her, perhaps, because she declined to defend him when pressed during her Senate debate a few weeks ago to say whether she’s proud of him?

Or is he pissed off at her because she’s on the brink of losing both of Arizona’s Senate seats to Democrats in a two-year span? He hates losers, you know.

Although maybe he’ll feel more sympathetic to them come next Wednesday morning.

If you want to see a U.S. senator be humiliated, have I got the clip for you. Trump didn’t need to say a word to make this puppy roll over.

Georgia Republicans, what’s the argument for supporting Loeffler over Doug Collins at this point? Not that I’m a big Collins fan, but he’s been a populist for longer than six seconds. He’s not doing photo ops with the local QAnon candidate — although not for lack of trying, I assume — and he’s not going straight back to the country club if he finishes out of the running next week. He also happens to be Trump’s preferred choice for Loeffler’s Senate seat. Although the president hasn’t endorsed him in the primary, no doubt under pressure from McConnell to stay out of the race, he was Trump’s pick for the appointment that eventually went to Loeffler last year.

The only argument for preferring her is that *in theory* she’ll play better with suburban voters in a runoff than Collins will. That’s why Brian Kemp chose her for the seat. But she’s squandered so much of her credibility as a “traditional” Republican by pandering to Trumpers in order to try to hold off Collins that it’s unclear if she’s more of a liability with college grads in Georgia than he is at this point. Pretending that she’s never heard of the “Access Hollywood” tape is a blatant insult to the intelligence of voters, designed to avoid even the most minimally criticism of the president. (She could have simply said, “It was unfortunate that he said that but he’s apologized for it and everyone has moved on. It’s ancient history.”) She’s not a good politician. If you want a senator who’ll do whatever Trump wants but whose attempts to posture as a populist will be slightly less cringy, Collins is the obvious choice.

I’ll leave you with one more humiliation, a painful one. Mike Lee was the first tea partier to oust an establishment Republican in a Senate primary. He’s the staunchest “constitutional conservative” in the Senate. His moral bearings were sufficiently intact circa 2016 that he tried to organize a revolt against Trump at the convention and later called on him to withdraw from the race following the “Access Hollywood” incident. (The video of him explaining his reasoning is still up.) Four years later, he’s now been sufficiently absorbed by the Trump cult that he made his pitch to Arizona’s Mormon minority at yesterday’s rally by comparing the president explicitly to an LDS religious figure. “He seeks not the praise of the world or the fake news,” says Lee of Trump, distorting a bit of Mormon scripture. Mike, I hate to tell you: The praise of the world is precisely what he seeks, every minute of the day, from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning to the moment he closes them at night. What an endless embarrassment the Republican leadership class is.

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John Sexton 10:00 PM on June 02, 2023