Cindy McCain — the wife of the late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain — shamed Arizona Republicans over the weekend after the Arizona Republican Party’s state party apparatus formally censured her, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, all of whom are Republicans. The state party targeted Cindy on account of her (pre-election) support for President Joe Biden and for so-called “leftist causes,” like gay marriage. On a similarly vitriolic note, the party censured Ducey over his administration’s COVID-19 restrictions and targeted Flake over his support for Biden. No matter the pompous self-importance of the Arizona Republicans, censure has little practical significance — it’s a symbolic rebuke.
Cindy commented on Twitter as follows:
‘It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well…and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.’
It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well…and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) January 24, 2021
If the Arizona GOP intended for their censure to make their state party look intimidating, then they have failed. Neither Ducey nor Flake seemed particularly impressed by the symbolic rebukes — Flake noted that if “condoning” ex-President Trump’s “behavior is required to stay in the Party’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs,” while Ducey’s political director Sara Mueller noted that the “resolutions are of no consequence whatsoever and the people behind them have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had.” As Cindy noted, her late husband once faced censure by the state GOP… and he went on to win a Senate primary race against Kelli Ward, the current state party chairwoman.
The split between anti-Trump conservatives and those who are still incessantly loyal to Trump is also playing out in the Senate, which is preparing for the ex-president’s impending second impeachment trial. A selection of Republican Senators, including Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski, and Pat Toomey have all expressed some level of condemnation for the ex-president’s role in inciting recent rioting at the Capitol, which led to his second impeachment by the House.