Sen. Martha McSally went viral yesterday when she responded to a reasonable question from CNN congressional reporter Manu Raju about whether she was willing to consider new evidence in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Instead, she said: "I’m not talking to you, You’re a liberal hack.”
I'm a fighter pilot, I call it like it is and that's what I did today. pic.twitter.com/2PHc1fo2xo— Martha McSally (@SenMcSallyAZ) January 17, 2020
McSally was clearly proud of the moment, tweeting out footage of her brushback and later going on Fox News Blonde Laura Ingraham’s show to dismiss the mainstream media altogether. “As you know, these CNN reporters , many of them around the Capitol, they are so biased. They are so in cahoots with the Democrats. They are so against the president. They run around trying to chase Republicans and asking trapping questions. I’m a fighter pilot. I call it like it is.”
Amusingly, the fighter pilot who calls it like it is then sidestepped the same question from Ingraham. ""I'm not going to tell everyone what my votes are going to be," she said in her usual evasive manner. (Remember this moment the next time one of McSally's allies says that her Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, dodges tough questions.
McSally has sidestepped any and all questions about whether President Donald Trump’s shakedown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was appropriate. Instead, whenever she is asked about the trial, she flips the question and says Democrats are to blame for investigating the matter. And while she has given lip service to the notion that she’s going to be a fair juror who listens to all the evidence in the impeachment trial, there is zero chance that she would actually turn on Trump as that would be political suicide—and if there’s one thing McSally cares deeply about, it’s Martha McSally’s political ambitions.
It’s a standard feature of the 2018 Martha McSally model, which now comes loaded with extra Trumpiness. Unlike the earlier versions, which were critical of Trump and aimed to present the image of a reasonable moderate as she navigated the political currents of a competitive Southern Arizona congressional district, the 2018 McSally model has fully embraced Trump and his brash and insulting style. It likely cost her the 2018 election against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, but she’s bought her ticket and she’s gonna ride.
It also helped McSally distract from more bad news. As The Skinny reported this week, multiple polls have shown McSally with lousy approval ratings. And yesterday, ahead of her attention-grabbing dismissal of CNN’s liberal hack, more bad news emerged: Her approval ratings continue to dive, according to Morning Consult’s quarterly tracking poll.
The Skinny mentioned this week that McSally has a “meh” rating in the ratings released in October, with 39 percent of surveyed voters approving of the job she’s doing and 37 percent disapproving, giving her a net plus-2-percent positive score . The latest numbers show that she has dropped 5 percentage points, to a negative-3-percent score. According to the survey, 37 percent of voters approved of the job she’s doing, while 40 percent disapproved. The survey showed that she suffered a huge 9-percentage-point drop among Republican voters as she dropped from 49 percent approval to 41 percent approval.
So McSally’s exchange with Raju served two purposes: It distracted from the news of her tumbling approval and it helped her with the GOP base that appears to be souring on her. We’ll find out in November whether it helps her with the independent and female voters who supported Sinema over her in 2018.