Senator John McCain has not had an easy time deciding who to vote for this election cycle. In July 2015, Donald Trump dismissed the Arizona senator’s war hero status, declaring “I like people who weren’t captured.” And later, as Donald Trump ramped up attacks on the Gold Star family of fallen U.S. Army Captain Khan, McCain further distanced himself from the Republican party’s nominee.
But over the weekend, after tapes were released showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault to Access Hollywood‘s Billy Bush in 2005, the Arizona lawmaker finally withdrew his endorsement. “Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy,” McCain said in a statement. The GOP stalwart vowed that rather than vote for Hillary Clinton, he would write in a qualified Republican.
During a debate on Monday with his senate challenger Ann Kirkpatrick, McCain doubled down on his non-endorsement of Trump, stating that he will most likely write in South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham for president when it comes time for him to cast his ballot in November. “He’s an old, good friend of mine and a lot of people like him. The fact is I can’t, seriously, I cannot vote for [Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton],” the incumbent senator said.
On Tuesday, Trump shot back. “The very foul mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!” the Republican nominee tweeted.
As CNN points out, McCain has long been a supporter of Graham’s. When the South Carolina senator concluded his White House run at the end of 2015, McCain stated that Republicans had lost “our most qualified, thoughtful, fearless and honest presidential candidate.”