Congresswoman Martha McSally has told The Range she won’t be endorsing Donald Trump in this year’s presidential race, although she might vote for him.
“I have never endorsed a politician in my life and I’m not going to start now, so you can ask me for the next three and a half months, but it’s not happening,” McSally said on Friday, July 22. “Who we each vote for is our responsibility as a citizen and a voter and, in that role, have a vote just like you have a vote and I personally believe that is between me, God and the ballot box.”
The two Democrats who are competing in the Democratic primary, former state lawmakers Matt Heinz and Victoria Steele, have both worked to link McSally to Trump, as has the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They’re hoping that Trump will prove so unpopular with voters that he’ll affect down-ticket races.
After Trump clinched the nomination, McSally said via a prepared statement that she would spend time between now and Election Day evaluating Trump’s character to determine if she could support him.
But she told the Range last week that she “utterly disagreed” with Trump’s recent comments in an interview with the New York Times that the United States might not come to the aid of NATO allies if they hadn’t fulfilled their financial obligations to the alliance
. Trump’s response to a question about a hypothetical Russian invasion of a Baltic state left many national-security experts unhappy and had political observers noting that Trump appeared to be currying favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressing concern about Trump’s financial ties to Russian oligarchs.
“The NATO alliance is held together (by the concept of) an attack on one is an attack on all,” McSally said. “That’s what makes up the alliance. So we strongly need to adhere to our Article 5 responsibilities.”
Asked if there were specific policy areas where she agreed with Trump, McSally said she hadn’t been paying much attention to his campaign.
“He’s been saying a lot of things,” McSally said. “I don’t sit there and watch evening TV, watching speeches of politicians. I just don’t have the time. I think he is, in general, tapping into a frustration that is across the political spectrum, that they’re feeling like—and this is especially true about the middle class and they can’t figure out what the diagnosis is—but, ‘No matter what we can do, we can’t get ahead.’ And these are complicated issues but there’s a lot of frustration."
McSally added that she had “voiced several concerns about how (Trump) chooses to speak, the way he’s spoken about veterans and Hispanics and women and others. That’s just not how leaders carry themselves. But I don’t think people should dismiss what he is hearing from people about the level of frustration about lack of opportunity and concerns about safety and security. How you deal with that, what you think the solution is—hopefully we can get to where that’s a battle of ideas of public policy solutions for complex problems as opposed to a WWF tournament.”