Ariz. Republican embraces Trump in high-profile Senate bid

Associated Press

PHOENIX (January 13, 2018) — Martha McSally wants Arizona to know she supports President Donald Trump.

The Republican congresswoman has voted with the Republican president nearly 97 percent of the time so far. She says that young immigrants shouldn’t be shielded from deportation unless Democrats agree to build Trump’s massive border wall. She doesn’t even mind if the tough-talking commander-in-chief described Haiti and other African nations with vulgar language earlier in the week.

“I speak a little salty behind closed doors at times as well, so I’m not going to throw the first stone on using any language,” said McSally, who wants to be Arizona’s next U.S. senator. She added, “You better believe I will keep working with President Trump.”

The enthusiastic allegiance marks a shift for McSally, who refused to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign and refuses even now to say whether she voted for him. But her party fight to maintain control of the Senate in 2018, the 51-year-old former fighter pilot is betting big that she needs Trump’s most passionate supporters on her side if she’s to keep outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat in Republican hands.

The seat is empty, in large part, because Flake could not — or would not — “be complicit or silent” about his deep concerns with the Trump presidency.

McSally, meanwhile, is embracing Trump and his political playbook — which emphasizes the dangers of illegal immigration and demands border security above all else — in a state where nearly 1 in 3 residents is Hispanic and roughly 1 million are eligible to vote, according to the Pew Research Center.

The success of her message will help determine whether it’s finally time for Republican candidates to heed party leaders who warned six years ago that candidates must soften their tone on immigration and do far more to connect with Hispanic voters and other minorities.

In announcing her candidacy on Friday, at least, McSally is showing no sign of moderating her tone.

“When facing vicious cartels and the possibility of terrorists, a secure border is not just the people’s right, it is the federal government’s urgent responsibility,” she told dozens of people gathered for her announcement speech in a Tucson, Arizona, aircraft hangar. “There should be no sanctuary for anyone breaking our laws and harming our people.”

McSally enters a dynamic Republican primary field that features a nationally celebrated immigration hardliner, 85-year-old former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by Trump last year after defying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. Another high-profile candidate, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, was an early favorite of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

“She obviously has a primary where immigration will play a big role,” Republican strategist Alex Conant said of McSally. “Trump’s position on immigration is where the base of the party is. You cannot be perceived as being soft on illegal immigration and expect hold the base.”

There are obvious risks among a more diverse general election audience, however.

“If you’re perceived as anti-immigrant, you’re going to have difficulty winning anywhere in America, especially border states,” Conant said.

McSally appears to be trying to walk a fine line in the early days of her Senate campaign.

She co-sponsored an immigration plan considered a conservative wish list of sorts released by House conservatives this week that would reduce legal immigration levels by 25 percent, block federal grants to sanctuary cities and restrict the number of relatives that immigrants already in the U.S. can bring here. The bill, which is unlikely to survive the GOP-controlled Senate, also provides temporary legal status for young immigrants enrolled in DACA.

In an interview, she refused to say whether she supports a pathway to legal status for millions of other immigrants in the country illegally. Nor would she say whether her political party should do anything to improve its standing among Hispanic voters.

“I’m only responsible for myself,” McSally said. “I’m a Republican. So what I’m doing every day is listening to people getting out to all the different diverse elements in my community, hearing what their main concerns are, and fighting tirelessly for them.”

The Republican National Committee determined back in 2013 that GOP candidates must work harder to use welcoming and inclusive messages to win over Hispanic voters, who are becoming a larger share of the American electorate.

“It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy,” the RNC wrote, “if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Despite the warning, Trump won the presidency by adopting aggressively anti-immigrant language that continues to spark accusations of racism and bigotry.

In Arizona, McSally doesn’t see any cause for concern with Trump’s leadership.

“He’s a fighter. He’s a scrapper. He can’t help it when he’s attacked but to punch back. It is who he is,” she said. “We’re not going to change him. So why don’t I focus on what I can do instead of focusing on what somebody else is doing?”

Consider Supporting Us?

The staff at Onenewsnow.com strives daily to bring you news from a biblical perspective. If you benefit from this platform and want others to know about it please consider a generous gift today.

MAKE A DONATION

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Do evangelical Millennials you know tend to lean more 'pro-life' or more 'pro-choice'?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

Latest: McConnell to propose shorter-term funding plan
US government shuts down; Dems, GOP blame each other
Deadline for gov't shutdown looms; Senate sets 1 last vote
Midnight gov't shutdown nears; no accord in sight
Mattis says US competitive warfighting edge has eroded
Experts: Shackled children face long road to recovery
US flu season gets worse, has 'lot more steam' than expected
Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose
Trump announces protections for pro-life medical people
Latest: Schumer says Trump 'backed off' deal

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Government braces for shutdown as Senate fails to meet deadline for spending deal
Schumer amnesty shutdown: Washington on edge as cliff approaches
President Trump: Government shutdown 'not looking good'
Mick Mulvaney: Shutdown deal due in 'next 24 hours'
Dem senators say 'No government, no pay' with new bill to freeze salaries during a shutdown

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
Latest: Schumer says Trump 'backed off' deal

Chuck Schumer, Sen. (D-New York)WASHINGTON (January 20, 2018) — The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local):