Interview: Dr. Kelli Ward On Her Comments About Replacing John McCain
Dr. Kelli Ward, Senator John McCain’s former challenger, was asked on Friday if she believed that he should step down over his failing health and if she believes she should be considered as a replacement. Not one to beat around the bush, Ward responded in the affirmative to both questions.
Ward’s straightforward response created a storm online, as NeverTrumpers and liberals both pounced on her remarks to call her insensitive. Meanwhile, those who aim to ‘Make America Great Again’ celebrated the prospect of having someone who supports the president’s policies replace the octogenarian.
While Ward is currently campaigning against Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, her supporters were thrilled to see another route to get her to Washington, DC.
Speaking to Big League Politics from Snowflake, Arizona — Flake’s hometown — where she is attending a ‘Pioneer Days’ event, Ward explained that “whenever I’m asked a question, I don’t know, I give an answer. I guess unlike most politicians who would just skirt around the issue I take things directly — and I’m going to continue to do so.”
“I was asked what I think about Senator McCain, and if he should resign — and yes, eventually he will become debilitated from this devastating progressive cancer. When that happens he should step aside and allow the governor to appoint someone to do the job that the people of this country want done — of course that is to accomplish the Trump agenda — and not put it on hold for an unknown period of time.”
Ward also asserted that if she didn’t believe she was a worthy replacement, she wouldn’t be running for office in the first place.
“If a short list is made, of course I should be on it — I think I should be at the top of the list. If I didn’t think I should be on the top of the list, I shouldn’t be in this race for the US Senate,” Ward said.
Regarding those who are attacking her, Ward said, “I want to say that the people who started this attack on my telling the truth about McCain, his health, and the political process that happens should his Senate seat be vacated — those people are against us. It was the Reagan Battalion, run by none other than Progressive Liberal Never Trumper, Evan McMullin.”
“People need to take it with a grain of salt. This is a Never Trumper who is trying to derail the Trump agenda by attacking, demeaning, belittling, and attempting to create a character that doesn’t exist in order to further their own political agenda — which is to oppose Donald Trump at every turn,” she added.
“Remember, Jeff Flake has been one of the original Never Trumpers along with Evan McMullin. He even admitted that he voted for McMullin in the presidential race. People have to look at where the fake news is coming from, it’s not just from the left, it’s also from the Never Trump camp.”
Ward challenged McCain during last year’s primary, but even with national support and excitement over her ‘America First’ ideology and policies similar to President Trump, she was unable to unseat the career politician who outspent her 10-1. While her money and momentum may have arrived late, she still managed to come within nine points of the incumbent on election day.
When asked if she thought McCain may have a role in choosing his successor, and if that worried her given his prior hostility, Ward responded: “Who knows? You know the political games that are played. I’m not a member of the ‘good ole boys’ club that exists in Arizona and in Washington, DC. I am definitely an outsider insurgent candidate seeking to represent the people of the state of Arizona, and the state of Arizona itself, as Senate is supposed to do. Who knows what will happen in those back rooms when this appointment comes to pass.”
Rising above the ruthless attacks on her character by the McCain campaign during her primary challenge, Ward gracefully wished him and his family well on Twitter following news breaking of his condition.
Wishing Mr. McCain comfort and peace as he and his family cope with his diagnosis and treatment
— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) July 20, 2017
“Wishing Mr. McCain comfort and peace as he and his family cope with his diagnosis and treatment,” Ward tweeted on Wednesday.
Ward told Big League that this scandal is a concoction of Never Trumpers and fake news.
“I’m laser focused on my race with Jeff Flake. The media is creating this story out of nothing, as usual — I call it fake news,” Ward said. “I’m focused on winning that race. We did a poll earlier in the week and I myself was stunned by the results. To think that I am at 49% over a sitting US Senator, a guy who has been in DC for nearly two decades, is amazing.”
Though Ward wishes McCain well, she is also a doctor — and realistic. She recognizes that a condition affecting his brain will most certainly impede his ability to adequately perform his duties in the Senate.
The controversy was sparked following an interview on Indiana radio WOWO 1190 AM on Friday morning, when Ward stated that President Trump’s agenda “can’t be at a standstill while we wait for John McCain to determine what he’s going to do.”
“I hope that Senator McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible,” Ward said. “So that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward.”
In Arizona, they don’t hold special elections — so she expressed her hope that McCain would quickly step down to begin the process of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointing a replacement until the election next year. Ward also expressed hope that she would be considered for the job.
Ward has quite an impressive resume. She is a doctor, military wife of a colonel who has served 32 years in the Air Force, mother of three and former Arizona State Senator. While she served her term in Senate, she still managed to continue practicing medicine in hospital emergency departments.
“My agenda, pre-Trump, is the same agenda post-Trump. I am so glad that we have a president in the White House who wants to accomplish the things that the people of the state of Arizona, and people around this country, want to accomplish,” Ward told Big League. “I will be focused on things like border security, stopping illegal immigration, stopping rewarding people who came here illegally, and repealing Obamacare. I will be making sure the tax code is corrected, fair, and stimulates the economy’s growth — as well as making sure that America is energy independent. Those are things I have been fighting for since the first time I ran for the Arizona State Senate, trying to affect those things at the state level, and they are things that have been consistent even in my pre-political life.”
Following the extremely expensive smear campaign against her by McCain last year, Ward says that she has emerged from those ashes “much stronger” and that her campaign against Senator Flake is going so well that it would serve him to encourage Governor Ducey to appoint her so that he can easily win his reelection.
Possibly indicating poor relations between Flake and the Trump administration, Ward even had a sit down meeting with White House officials earlier this month, though what was discussed has not been made public.
When asked how people can support getting her to DC by either replacing McCain or defeating Flake, Ward had many options to choose from.
“I think the governor is going to make his own decision, but people can help me get to DC one way or another by donating to the campaign or getting involved. You don’t need to be in Arizona to get involved, you can do it remotely. Join our mailing list, join one of our coalitions, we have great coalition work going on — one in particular is VOCA, the Victims of Criminal Aliens,” Ward suggested.
Ward added, “we aren’t going to be silent about the victims of criminal aliens who shouldn’t even be in our country. The victims have to have a voice and I want to stand up for them.”
“They can also of course go to social media. Social media is exploding today — join the conversation. When the liberal attacks are coming, if you want to help spread the truth come and join us,” Ward said.
The senate hopeful added that those outside Arizona should get involved online as well, because even though they can’t vote for her, she will be able to vote on their behalf as well when she gets to Washington.
“When I get to the United States Senate, I can vote for all of us who want to support President Trump’s agenda, who want to stand up for our Second Amendment rights, who want to make sure we maintain free speech and privacy — anybody across the country who is passionate about those things I hope will join us on social media and make a difference,” Ward told Big League.
One thing is certain, Ward is a fighter. If the establishment wishes to keep Flake, having her replace McCain may be the best option they have.
“They have a goal, their goal is to stop Donald Trump. My goal is to support Donald Trump and his agenda so we can make America great again,” Ward concluded.