Meghan McCain to Sen. Klobuchar: Leave my father out of it

The Democratic presidential contender used a personal anecdote about the late Arizona GOP senator criticizing Trump.
Image: Meghan McCain, John McCain
Meghan McCain, and Sen. John McCain attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel on May 3, 2014, in Washington.Evan Agostini / Invision/AP file

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By Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — Meghan McCain told Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar not to invoke her father, the late Sen. John McCain, on the campaign trail.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., recounted a story in Iowa this weekend in which the Sen. McCain, her longtime colleague in Washington, seemed to compare President Donald Trump to various authoritarian leaders.

"The arc that we are on, this arc of justice, started the day after that dark inauguration," Klobuchar said. "The day when I sat on that stage between Bernie and John McCain, and John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech, because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did."

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While it was the first time Klobuchar recited that particular anecdote, she has regularly praised McCain in speeches and interviews. The senator visited McCain while he was battling cancer at his Arizona ranch and described him as a "mentor" after his death.

Meghan McCain, a co-host of The View, tweeted on Monday that Klobuchar should be "respectful" and not bring her father up in political speeches.

"On behalf of the entire McCain family (Senator Klobuchar), please be respectful to all of us and leave my father's legacy and memory out of presidential politics," she said.

The Klobuchar campaign responded to her request Monday night in a statement that emphasized the senator's respect for the McCain family but did not directly say whether she would continue to use the story.

"Senator Klobuchar had a long-time friendship with Senator McCain, she has defended him against President Trump’s attacks in the past, and she has deep respect for his family," said Tim Hogan, the campaign's communications director. "While she was simply sharing a memory, she continues to believe that the best stories about Senator McCain are not about the views he had about President Trump: They are about McCain’s own valor and heroism.”

Both McCains have been critical of Trump, who still sometimes mocks and criticizes the former Arizona senator even after his death.

The late senator withdrew his endorsement of the Republican nominee in October 2016, citing Trump's taped statements about groping women as well as his feud with a Gold Star family, his attacks on a Mexican-American judge's heritage, and his “outrageous” accusations against the "Central Park Five," a group of African American men convicted of rape as teenagers but cleared by DNA evidence years later.