Representative Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) demanded during a Monday night debate that her Senate opponent, Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), apologize to veterans for appearing to sanction treason at the height of the Iraq War.
Citing a 2003 radio appearance in which Sinema seemed unperturbed about the prospect of Americans joining the Taliban, McSally accused Sinema of saying “it’s okay to commit treason” and demanded an apology.
During the radio segment, which was recently unearthed by CNN, Sinema responds to the host’s hypothetical suggestion about joining the Taliban by asserting that it wouldn’t bother her if he did so.
“As an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there and I’m fighting for the Taliban. I’m saying that’s a personal decision,” host Ernest Hancock said during the show.
“Fine,” Sinema responded, “I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead.”
Sinema did not engage with the charge that she sanctioned treason during the debate, saying only that her opponent was relying on “ridiculous attacks, and trying to smear my campaign.”
McSally, an Air Force veteran, also made much of her opponent’s past record as an anti-war activist during the debate.
“While we were in harms way, she was protesting our troops in a pink tutu,” McSally said of Sinema’s time organizing demonstrations against the Iraq War.
President Trump is scheduled to stump for McSally in Arizona Friday, roughly three weeks ahead of the election to determine the successor to his longtime rival, Senator Jeff Flake. When Sinema raised McSally’s deference to Trump as a potential negative for Arizona voters, Sinema embraced the attack, insisting she was “proud that he has gone to the White House and he is leading our country in the right direction.”
In response, Sinema cast herself as politically independent, vowing to support the president on certain issues while opposing him on others.
“I believe it’s our duty to stand up against the president when he’s doing something wrong, but join with him when he’s doing something right, like working for veterans,” she said.