Cindy McCain was censured by Arizona Republicans on Saturday but is taking the action defiantly. According to a report by CBS News, Sen. John McCain's widow was censured along with Sen. Jeff Flake and Gov. Doug Ducey, all for symbolic purposes. McCain herself tweeted: "It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well."
"I'll wear this as a badge of honor," McCain added, referring to the censure. The Arizona GOP censured McCain, Flake and Ducey for endorsing President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, and for condemning former President Donald Trump. All three are Republicans, yet stood against Trump. Other lawmakers in the state are such firm believers in Trump that they believed a formal reprimand was in order.
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
McCain has little reason to support Trump and plenty of reason to support Biden. In his lifetime, her late husband constantly clashed with Trump and was intent on distancing the ideology of Republicans in general from Trump's cult of personality. At the same time, the McCain family considered Biden a lifelong friend, both in politics and on the personal side.
Biden was invited to McCain's funeral, unlike Trump, and was a frequent visitor during McCain's cancer treatment. He and McCain shared a common focus on bipartisanship during their careers, seeing it as the key to political compromise.
This was of little concern to the Arizona Republican Party, which just re-elected controversial party Chairwoman Kelli Ward. Ward is a self-described "Trump Republican" and has often parroted the former president's conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.
Good company pic.twitter.com/1pdgVGE5Ps— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 24, 2021
"Yes, I will be radical about those things because those are the things that keep this country great," Ward said of the censures. "The people who are complaining are the people who actually put us in this spot where we are in Arizona, people who have been mamby pamby, lie down and allow the Democrats to walk all over them."
Some analysts are taking the censures as a sign of the ongoing fracturing of the Republican party itself, in spite of Biden's election. However, there are some in Arizona still committed to bringing the state's party back to a sense of normalcy. For example, the state's former House Speaker Kirk Adams said: "This is a time for choosing for Republicans. Are we going to be the conservative party? Or is this a party... that's loyal to a single person?"