After a MAGA rally in Henderson, Nevada near Las Vegas on Sunday, September 13, President Donald Trump headed to Phoenix for a “Latinos for Trump” event the following day — and one Trump ally who was conspicuously absent from that event, according to Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire, was Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona.
During a Tuesday, September 15 appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Lemire told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that while Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was at the “Latinos for Trump” event, McSally was nowhere to be found — despite the fact that she is one of Trump’s most high-profile supporters in Arizona, where the president has been trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in recent polls. McSally’s office, Lemire noted, has said that she was unable to attend because she was busy with some Senate-related obligations, but Lemire was skeptical and speculated that the real reason for McSally’s absence was her fear that being in Trump’s presence in Phoenix would damage her already-struggling campaign.
McSally, who lost to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 but was later appointed to Arizona’s other U.S. Senate seat — the one held for many years by Sen. Barry Goldwater and, after that, Sen. John McCain — has been trailing her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, in poll after poll. Polls released in September have found that in Arizona’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, McSally is trailing Kelly by 17% (Fox News), 15% (Redfield & Wilton Strategies), 7% (CBS News/YouGov) and Gravis Marketing (5%). And Lemire, on “Morning Joe,” speculated that McSally dodged the “Latinos for Trump” event because she feared it would make things even worse for her troubled campaign.
Lemire speculated that another possible reason for McSally’s absence was the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the lack of social distancing at Trump’s recent events.
“Either she was concerned that she didn’t want to be on a stage with Donald Trump in a tight election in the state of Arizona, or perhaps she was concerned for her own safety as many others were in a tightly packed room,” Lemire told Scarborough and Brzezinski.
Brzezinski interjected that “one way to avoid” being infected with COVID-19 is “not to go to a superspreader event where people are all clustered together and breathing all over each other."