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Cindy has called Biden, a longtime friend of the late Sen. John McCain, "a wonderful man and a dear friend"

By Sean Neumann
August 18, 2020 11:34 PM
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Joe Biden and Cindy McCain in 2018
| Credit: Andreas Gebert/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, joined a vocal minority of Republicans this week who are appearing at the Democratic National Convention in support of Joe Biden.

Cindy's message — announced only hours earlier — came Tuesday night during the virtual DNC. She made a voiceover appearance in a video narrated by actress Octavia Spencer about Sen. McCain's bond with the Democratic presidential nominee.

"It was Joe's friend who saved Obamacare by crossing the aisle," Spencer said, referencing Sen. McCain's crucial "no" vote when Republicans hoped to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

The Arizona lawmaker, who died in 2018, held his thumb down when he cast his vote, essentially ending the GOP's efforts to dismantle the law known as Obamacare.

Biden and Sen. McCain had an enduring friendship, which his widow noted in her pre-recorded remarks on Tuesday. Her decision to speak at the DNC marked a reversal from previous comments, where she praised Biden's character but abstained from more pointedly weighing in on him as a candidate versus Trump.

On Tuesday, she praised his "style of legislating and leadership."

"It was a friendship that shouldn't have worked," Spencer said in the video, retelling the story of how Biden and Sen. McCain met in the 1970s when the latter was assigned as Biden's aide during an overseas trip.

"They would just sit and joke," Cindy, 66, recalled. "It was like a comedy show sometimes to watch the two of them."

Soon after the video featuring Cindy aired on the DNC's livestream, Biden tweeted: "John McCain was a good man, and a good friend. He made this country better. I miss him dearly."

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From left: John McCain and Cindy McCain on daughter Meghan McCain's wedding day in 2017

Cindy tweeted last year when Biden was rumored to run for president that he was "a wonderful man and a dear friend of the McCain family," though she said that she had "no intention of getting involved in presidential politics."

That changed Tuesday night when she spoke out on behalf of Biden, who is running against President Donald Trump — a McCain foe who continued to attack the senator even after his death and has long criticized him.

McCain was held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War, between 1967 and 1973, where he was routinely tortured and said he had considered suicide due to the conditions and abuse he endured. The future senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee was awarded the Purple Heart for his military service.

“He was captured,” Trump told CBS News back in 2000. “Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure.”

Trump repeated the remarks in 2015 while running for president, saying that he liked "people that weren’t captured.”

He was not invited to McCain's funeral after the senator died of brain cancer in 2018.

Since then, View co-host Meghan McCain — the senator's daughter — has also spoken out in support of Biden and has routinely slammed Trump's inflammatory rhetoric and disparagement of her dad.

Joe Biden, Meghan Mccain
From left: former Vice President Joe Biden and Meghan McCain
| Credit: Lou Rocco/Getty Images

In April, Meghan said on Watch What Happens Live that the Trumps were “always making my mom cry." She has since reiterated that she will not be voting for Trump in November.

"I just think politics is personal," she told WWHL's Andy Cohen in the spring, adding, “I keep telling everyone, ‘I promise you will know who I’m voting for,’ but it really shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know there’s one man who has made pain in my life a living hell and another man who has literally shepherded me through the grief process."

Biden had once consoled Meghan during an episode of The View following her father's death.

“This really shouldn’t be rocket science for people," Meghan said on WWHL. She also described her family's close relationship with Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

“They’re old, old friends,” Meghan said then. “Again, he’s just been so integral in my life, especially since my dad got sick.”