John McCain's 2008 Campaign Strategist Just Tore Meghan McCain A New One—And Twitter Is Grabbing The Popcorn
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."
2/ After 14 years of abuse and attacks, today is the day I have decided to respond. I am happy to keep the story going after this thread, it only gets better.pic.twitter.com/zqRX1qhnDO— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962427
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."
3/ I was the first adult that @MeghanMcCain ever encountered that she heard the word NO from. I told her she was unimportant and that the Presidential election wasn\u2019t about her. I left her on the tarmac when she didn\u2019t make the plane because as I explained to her, the 5000 people— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962428
4/ who were waiting to see her father speak and took the time to do it deserved to have him show up on time. That was the way John McCain saw it. He was appalled by @MeghanMcCain conduct on the campaign. Appalled and embarrassed. The tantrums were beyond anything I have— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962429
5/ever witnessed from any other human being. They were epic meltdowns that would test the range of Meryl Streep, Kate Winslett, Jodi Foster and Anne Hathaway on their best days. Raging, screaming, crying, at the staff, at the makeup people at Secret Service. Without any doubt— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962429
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.
6/ it was the most rotten, entitled, spoiled, cruel, mean and bullying behavior I have ever witnessed. It was my job to confront it and I did. I talked to 24 year old @MeghanMcCain the way an adult should have talked to the Trump kids. I talked to her the way a retired USMC— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962429
7/ 4 Star General failed to do in the WH with Ivanka, Jared and Jr. They are all the same people. I told her that she was unimportant and that everything around her had nothing to do with her. I told her she was privileged and lucky and should be grateful. She told me and— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962430
8/ anyone else who would listen in response, \u201cDo you know who the Fuck my Dad is\u201d It was the miserable anthem of the total chaos that was the McCain Campaign. It never stopped until one day when I said ENOUGH!— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962430
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.
9/ @MeghanMcCain is a bully, entitled, unaccomplished, spoiled and mean. She has rejected her Family\u2019s history of service for a shallow and purposeless celebrity where she trades on a famous name like a fourth generation wannabe clipping coupons while pretending to be an heir— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962430
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.
11/ He was the only person I ever worked for who put in a position where I became involved in a public lie. When that campaign ended, I made a vow that that would never happen again and it hasn\u2019t.— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1651962431
Many have praised Schmidt for speaking out.
Steve Schmidt's weekend of speaking truth to toxic lies has been a huge gift to Americans heartbroken by the rotten MAGA behavior that's been thriving and proudly presenting itself in the most shameless amongst us.\nThe media must stop the both-sides-ism.\nIt's simply good vs evil.https://twitter.com/SteveSchmidtSES/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— Kay\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (make critical thinking a thing again) (@Kay\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (make critical thinking a thing again)) 1652061160
One thing about Steve, he ALWAYS brings the receipts. https://twitter.com/SteveSchmidtSES/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— \ud83d\udd2e Scarlet Witch Apologist \ud83d\udd2e (@\ud83d\udd2e Scarlet Witch Apologist \ud83d\udd2e) 1652144389
Claims of pedophilia are authoritarian playbook rhetoric. It's a favorite tactic of Putin, so the GOP has, of course, embraced it despite the fact that they have the most charges against many of them and no one seems to care.https://twitter.com/steveschmidtses/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— \ud835\ude14\ud835\ude22\ud835\ude33\ud835\ude2d\ud835\ude30\ud835\ude38\ud835\ude26 (@\ud835\ude14\ud835\ude22\ud835\ude33\ud835\ude2d\ud835\ude30\ud835\ude38\ud835\ude26) 1652128368
Necessary and vital from Steve Schmidt, a guy with many receipts.https://twitter.com/steveschmidtses/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8BrickmanInGA \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8BrickmanInGA \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652028117
AT LAST, Meghan has taken on a person who knows her and is not afraid of her tantrums.https://twitter.com/SteveSchmidtSES/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— Becky \ud83c\udd98 \ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf0a (@Becky \ud83c\udd98 \ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf0a) 1652008637
Brilliant thread, Steve Schmidt!!https://twitter.com/SteveSchmidtSES/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffbAunt Crabby Calls Bullshit \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffb (@\ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffbAunt Crabby Calls Bullshit \ud83d\udd95\ud83c\udffb) 1652019283
There\u2019s spilling the tea, and then there\u2019s a tea tsunami. Steve\u2019s thread here is bigger that. What a read\u2026https://twitter.com/steveschmidtses/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— RobM (@RobM) 1652022867
Why am I not surprised by this?? #MeghanMcCain has always been an unaccomplished, spoiled, entitled, brat who throws her dead daddy\u2019s name around like a damn coupon. #Trashyhttps://twitter.com/steveschmidtses/status/1523066920643088385\u00a0\u2026— Dark Skinned Squared (@Dark Skinned Squared) 1651981454
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.