Steve Schmidt—the public affairs strategist best known for working on Republican political campaigns, most notably the late Arizona Senator John McCain's in 2008—lashed out at McCain's daughter, television personality Meghan McCain, after she liked a tweet that referred to him as a "pedophile."
McCain liked the tweet after Schmidt noted her latest book, Bad Republican, had only sold 244 copies since its hardcover release last month. Noting McCain "has been trying to have a conversation with me for almost 14 years," Schmidt took her to task for what he said amounted to "slander."
"It is disgusting," he said in a tweet, adding the fact McCain liked the inflammatory tweet "says everything about her."
Schmidt suggested McCain had long displayed entitled behavior, saying he was the first adult "she heard the word NO from."
He recalled the time he had her kicked off the McCain campaign’s plane in 2008 “because of her outrageous behavior" that had left even her own late father appalled.
Schmidt said McCain was known for throwing violent tantrums that would test the range of esteemed actresses like Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and Anne Hathaway because of her habit of “Raging, screaming, crying, at the staff, at the makeup people, at Secret Service."
Schmidt said it often fell to him to quell McCain's "spoiled" and "entitled" behavior, saying he spoke to her "the way an adult should have talked to the Trump kids."
Schmidt recalled he "told her she was unimportant and that the Presidential election wasn’t about her.”
McCain, he said, would often counter any pushback to her bad behavior by asking them if they "know who the f*ck my dad is," which he described as a "miserable anthem" that came to define the campaign.
Schmidt went on to say McCain "has rejected her Family’s history of service for a shallow and purposeless celebrity" that largely consists of coasting on her late father's name.
Schmidt concluded the late Senator McCain's campaign was a dysfunctional one, noting the Senator called him "when that campaign went belly up" and working on it put him in "a position where I became involved in a public lie," a possible nod to internal discord surrounding the suitability of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Senator's running mate.
Many have praised Schmidt for speaking out.
McCain has not responded to Schmidt's criticisms.
A longtime right wing commentator, McCain has a temperamental relationship with her own party given former President Donald Trump's continued attacks against her late father, who infamously mocked the late Senator McCain for being a prisoner-of-war.
Her book, Bad Republican, tells a personal story "of growing up the daughter of an American icon who shaped her life and details the heartbreaking final moments spent by his side," according to its Amazon listing.
McCain is only the latest high-profile Republican to directly or indirectly align themselves with right-wing rhetoric that brands critics "pedophiles." The term has been largely used in recent months to the LGBTQ+ community, which has become the scapegoat for numerous attacks amid a wave of Republican-sponsored anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the country.