Here's how we know Martha McSally’s anti-CNN outburst was a calculated stunt: former RNC spokesperson

Here's how we know Martha McSally’s anti-CNN outburst was a calculated stunt: former RNC spokesperson
United States Senate Photographic Studio

Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona has been a master of political theater. On one hand, the Arizona senator showed her more graceful side when — with her dog at her side — she gave a good-natured concession speech to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. But McSally showed her mean-spirited side last week when she insulted CNN’s Manu Raju. And Never Trump conservative Tim Miller, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee (RNC), stresses in an article for The Bulwark that McSally’s outburst was no accident: insulting Raju, according to Miller, was a calculated move designed to express her devotion to Trumpism.

Raju asked McSally if she wanted new evidence to be included in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The senator angrily responded, “You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you. You’re a liberal hack.”

McSally’s outburst wasn’t a matter of Raju encountering the senator when she was in a bad mood and lost her temper. According to Miller, her outburst was a crude but effective publicity stunt — and instead of apologizing, McSally has been bragging about her bad behavior and posted a video of it online.

“It’s a small thing,” Miller writes, “but this fleeting moment reveals something interesting about the GOP’s posture as the Senate trial begins.”

Insulting a CNN reporter, Miller notes, was McSally’s way of letting Trump know that she will have his back during his impeachment trial.

Republicans in Congress “all know Trump is guilty,” Miller writes. “The only question is whether or not they can avoid admitting this, out loud, before they vote to acquit him. Every action Republicans take in the coming days should be viewed through the lens of them casting about for a strategy that lets them avoid telling voters what they actually believe.”

The pressure that McSally and other Republicans are under to be as pro-Trump as possible, according to Miller, underscores “the weird logic of Trumpism.”

“Voters like Trump because he ‘tells it like it is,’ but demand that Republican senators pretend that things are what they aren’t — kind of like how Republican voters have no choice but to vote for Trump, but Republican senators who think about crossing Trump are told that MAGA nation will never vote for them again if they do it,” explains Miller, who served as communications director for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the past.

Republicans in Congress, according to Miller, live in constant fear of “Trump reprisals” — and that includes McSally, who was praised on Twitter by @TrumpWarRoom for denouncing Raju as a “liberal hack.”

“Senate Republicans have spent three years getting comfortable telling lies while running interference for Trump,” Miller asserts. “They have no — literally zero — political incentives to stop now.”

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