Screenshot: @kelliwardaz (Twitter)

If you thought traveling around in a campaign tour bus with Mike Cernovich is a bad look for a Republican candidate for Senate, try this one on for size.

While Sen. John McCain’s family was saying their final farewells and notifying the world of McCain’s imminent passing, candidate Kelli Ward and her staff thought it was all some type of conspiracy to undermine her campaign efforts.

On Friday, McCain’s family released a statement saying that the six-term Arizona senator had decided to end medical treatment after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

His wife, Cindy McCain, tweeted out the statement thanking his caregivers, supporters, and friends for “the continuing outpouring of concern and affection…”

Advertisement

But Ward and members of her staff thought the timing was no coincidence. In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, a campaign staffer said, “I wonder if it were just a coincidence that Sen McCain released his statement on the kickoff day of Kelli Ward’s bus tour or if it was a plan to take media attention off her campaign? I’m not saying it was on purpose but it’s quite interesting.”

Ward chimed in with an affirmative comment: “I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me.”

Advertisement

McCain died on Saturday, hours after the comments were published. He was 81.

In a follow-up post that also seems to have been deleted, Ward tried to walk back the comments by blaming the media for her actions.

“The media loves a narrative. I’ve said again and again to pray for Senator McCain & his family. 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,” Ward wrote, according to The Arizona Republic.

Advertisement

“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 added.

Ward is in a three-way race in the Republican primary to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, and is competing against former sheriff Joe Arpaio and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, currently the front-runner. After this gaffe, McSally should be able to put some distance between her and Ward. All she has to do is point undecided Republican voters in her state to social media, where the backlash against Ward’s comments has been severe.

“You have to wonder: Just what the hell is wrong with Kelli Ward? Then you remember: She’s a Trumper. And suddenly the pathological self-absorption, utter absence of empathy and lack of decency make perfect sense,” one Twitter user wrote.

Advertisement

“These Trump people are the worst people,” another said.

Narcissism was a common theme among the reactions.

“It’s a narcissist comment to sit there and think that the McCain family made this decision to interfere with your bus tour,” Maricopa County Republican and McSally supporter Aaron Borders told the newspaper.

Advertisement