Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kelli Ward suggested Saturday that Sen. John McCain announced he was ending medical treatment for his brain cancer specifically to hurt her campaign, hours before his death.
McCain died Saturday hours after Ward made the suggestion on Facebook, The Arizona Republic reported.
“I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me,” Ward wrote about the Friday statement issued by Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) family.
Ward had issued the comments on a Facebook post made by one of her campaign staffers, who questioned the timing of the McCain family’s statement.
Ward’s staffer asked if the McCain family’s announcement was “just a coincidence” or “if it was a plan to take media attention off her campaign?”
Aaron Borders, the former second-vice chairman of a Maricopa County Republican Party group, took screenshots of Ward’s remarks and ripped into the candidate in an interview with The Republic.
“It’s wildly inappropriate,” Borders said.“It’s classless. It’s not decent … it’s very narcissistic. It’s a narcissist comment to sit there and think that the McCain family made this decision to interfere with your bus tour.”
Ward’s remarks appeared to have been deleted shortly after the screenshots were taken.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?@kelliwardaz staffer: I wonder if John McCain's trying to steal attention from Ward's bus tour by announcing his life is coming to an end.
Ward: Yup, it's all about me. #AZSEN pic.twitter.com/AXKAOhKYkU
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) August 25, 2018
Ward appeared to blame the media for her since-deleted remarks.
“The media loves a narrative. I’ve said again and again to pray for Senator McCain & his family,” Ward commented. “These decisions are terrible to have to make. I feel compassion for him and his family as they go through this. It’s not the McCains creating a narrative – it’s the media making something out of nothing. The media, the left, and the Establishment have the agenda.”
“They’ve been attacking me over fake stories for a year on this issue. I ran against Mr. McCain. I don’t agree with his voting record and rhetoric. I pray for him as a man who is suffering,” she continued, according to the outlet.
That comment also appears to have been deleted shortly after it was posted to Facebook.
Ward said she was “saddened” to hear of McCain’s passing.
“His decades of service will not be forgotten by the men & women of Arizona,” Ward tweeted Saturday. “May God grant the McCain family comfort and peace during this difficult time.”
We are saddened to hear of the passing of @SenJohnMcCain. His decades of service will not be forgotten by the men & women of Arizona. May God grant the McCain family comfort and peace during this difficult time.
— Dr. Kelli Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 26, 2018
Her tweet was blasted by social media users who pointed to her earlier comments about the senator.
You’re trending on twitter this morning for being human garbage. Congrats.
— andy lassner (@andylassner) August 26, 2018
You lie. pic.twitter.com/jb88croHtb
— Je Suis la Résistance (@stringbeans15) August 26, 2018