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Opinion Martha McSally insults reporter’s integrity, reaps windfall

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) speaks during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Dec. 3, 2019. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Early this month, Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) fielded a process question about impeachment. Would she support a subpoena for former national security adviser John Bolton? “We will work through it," she responded, dodging the issue.

Few took note of this business-as-usual response.

On Thursday, McSally fielded another process question about impeachment. “Should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?” CNN reporter Manu Raju asked. She replied, “Manu, you’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.”

The latest Trump impeachment trial updates

Everyone took note of this insulting response to a ho-hum question.

McSally herself doubled down on the moment, posting the video and receiving some high-follower endorsements, such as that of Fox News host Sean Hannity:

The taunt was good enough to earn McSally an invite to Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show — precious real estate for a GOP lawmaker. Asked whether she regretted her words, McSally said no way — noting that she’d repeated “liberal hack,” though it’s a bit muffled on the video. “You know, I mean, these CNN reporters, many of them around the Capitol, they are so biased. They are so in cahoots with the Democrats, they still can’t stand the president, and they run around trying to chase Republicans and ask trapping questions,” said McSally. “I’m a fighter pilot. You know, I called it like it is.” The senator complained of uneven treatment: When Democratic politicians walk by, she said, “They say, ‘Hi, how are you today?’ And then they chase after the Republicans.”

For context, see this video of Raju drawing a nasty response from Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.):

Something hilarious then happened on Ingraham’s show. After McSally and Ingraham figuratively high-fived over the diss against Raju, the discussion turned to the business pending before the Senate. At which point … Ingraham asked about the very same stuff that Raju had placed before McSally. Here’s some transcript:

INGRAHAM: My concern about this opening the Pandora’s Box, 11th-hour witnesses, text messages from a guy who is obviously trying to get his sentence reduced, scribble-scrabble on a Vienna Notepad from the Ritz-Carlton, and then the Republican moderates want to have a vote on witnesses. Why do the Republicans always do this nonsense, and Democrats always stay together?
MCSALLY: Well, Laura, we are trying to stay together, and that is the intent of the vote that we are going to take on Monday. Hundred senators under President Clinton voted for the process to start going. The vast majority is going to be just like Clinton, but Chuck Schumer and others obviously are not wanting to be with us, so we are trying to unite as a GOP.
But as you know, everything Schumer is doing right now is not about President Trump, it is not about the Constitution. It’s not about a fair trial.
INGRAHAM: So why do you need witnesses?
MCSALLY: He just wants power.
INGRAHAM: What about Manu Raju's question? Do you want witnesses?
MCSALLY: Well, I want a fair trial.

What a day for McSally. In exchange for insulting a veteran journalist in a Capitol Hill corridor, she gets: gobs of publicity; a new fundraising tactic for her November election; an appearance on Fox News; and an opportunity to answer the same question for an adoring, sympathetic television host.

How long before one of McSally’s GOP colleagues tries to replicate this great “success”?

Watch the latest Opinions video:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) opposed witnesses during Clinton's impeachment trial but wants them in Trump's. He should think twice, says Marc Thiessen. (Video: Marc Thiessen/The Washington Post, Photo: Julio Cortez / AP/The Washington Post)

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