Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., facing boos at Arizona Republican Party annual meeting
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., struggled to get his speech started Saturday at the Arizona Republican Party annual meeting.
The chorus of boos and jeers was just too loud.
The senator paused after his introduction as many Republicans in the audience shouted at him to “go home” and called McCain a “traitor,” presumably because of his more centrist stances in the Senate and his office’s reported attempts to purge conservatives and tea-party types from the ranks of the Arizona GOP.
It wasn’t the first time the party faithful have risen up against McCain in his home state. In 2014, the same annual meeting censured the senator in absentia for joining Democrats in the “Gang of Eight” to draft an immigration bill conservatives opposed.
McCain was already on thin ice for calling his tea-party critics “hobbits” and “wacko birds” in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
But after the censure, McCain took things even further when his team, according to a Politico report, sought to target and “unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.” Notably, McCain’s team ousted the man who authored the censure resolution from his district chairmanship, prompting conservatives to accuse McCain of waging all-out war against them.
At the state GOP meeting Saturday, McCain faced a divided and rowdy audience.
“They brought on a number of speakers,” explained Mark Singer, a precinct committeeman critical of McCain who attended the meeting. “Rep. Paul Gosar had a tremendous standing ovation because he was the only [representative] who voted against [House Speaker] John Boehner. [Rep.
Matt] Salmon had a great ovation, but not what it would have been had he voted out Boehner.
“Then all of a sudden they bring out John McCain,” Singer told WND. “I mean, half the people do not like McCain; they know what he stands for. They were very vocal. We all booed. Some people turned their back on the situation.
“This guy McCain is bad news across the board,” Singer said. “McCain went out and spent a bunch of money in Arizona to get people who are not conservatives to sign up for [leadership positions] across different districts. He’s already ruined the situation between Washington and Arizona as a senator; now he’s trying to ruin the local state voting and legislature. … It’s really corrupt.”
“The precinct committeemen who are conservative don’t want him to run [for re-election] because we know what he stands for,” Singer concluded. “We don’t want him.”
After the speech, McCain was dismissive of the protests.