Kelli Ward, the conservative Republican challenging Arizona Sen. John McCain in a primary next week, claims that the veteran lawmaker has gotten too old to do his job and is “at the end” of his life.
“John McCain has fallen down on the job. He’s gotten weak, he’s gotten old,” Ward, a former state senator and osteopathic physician, told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview Thursday.
Ward has given McCain, who is days shy of his 80th birthday, one of the tougher primary fights of his 33-year political career. Though McCain leads Ward by 13 points in a CNN poll released this month, he has faced withering attacks from Donald Trump and his supporters. He’s been accused of being too moderate, and his support for the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill has come back to haunt him.
Ward went out of her way during Thursday’s interview to point out McCain’s upcoming birthday.
“I do want to wish him a happy birthday. He’s going to be 80 on Monday,” she said, adding that though she will vote for McCain in the general election if he wins on Tuesday, she hopes to give him the birthday gift of retirement.
“Do you think he’s too old to serve in the Senate?” a surprised Chuck Todd asked.
“I’m a physician,” Ward said. “I see the physiological changes that happen in normal aging in patients again and again and again and again over the past 20 to 25 years. I do know what happens to the body and the mind at the end of life.”
Todd asked Ward if she was comfortable discussing McCain’s age and alleging that he is too frail to hold office.
“Diagnosing him as an 80-year-old man? Yes I do,” she said.