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  ‘I loved John McCain’: Inside Arizona’s GOP movement to defeat Donald Trump
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Nov 10, 2020 07:16pm
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorBryan Bender and Maggie Severns
News DateSunday, November 8, 2020 11:30:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionPHOENIX — Two years and two months before Arizona’s rebuke of President Donald Trump, hundreds of Republican leaders of the Grand Canyon State crowded into North Phoenix Baptist Church to bid farewell to their hero and mentor, John McCain.

They were met with a tearful eulogy from a special friend of McCain’s.

“My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain,” the former vice president began, sharing anecdotes from their decades-long friendship and recounting their bipartisan victories in the Senate. He called McCain his “brother” and lauded his heroic American story, “grounded in respect and decency.”

Many in the audience had already been riled up by Trump’s famous dismissal of McCain’s years as a POW — “I like people who weren’t captured.” They’d been appalled when, just months earlier, a Trump White House aide allegedly dismissed the opinion of the cancer-stricken McCain because “he’s dying anyway.” They'd been enraged that, two days before the memorial service, Trump had again attacked McCain after reports of his refusal to lower American flags in his honor.

On Election Day, many of them — led by McCain’s widow, Cindy — took revenge: Arizona is on target to choose a Democrat — Biden — for the first time in almost 25 years. Biden's early lead was such that Fox News declared him the winner in the Grand Canyon State on Tuesday, altering the electoral math and pulling the rug out from under Trump’s plans to claim victory in the overall polling before the Biden-leaning mailed ballots were counted in the Midwestern states.
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