GOP senator says she attacked a reporter to 'represent the people of my state'

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Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) keeps dodging questions about impeachment, but she defended calling a CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' as part of her pledge to speak the truth.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) penned an op-ed published Monday in the Arizona Republic saying her recent attack on a reporter was part of her responsibility to "represent the people of my state and tell them the truth."

McSally has been fielding criticism after calling CNN reporter Manu Raju a "liberal hack" and refusing to answer his question of whether the Senate should consider new evidence in Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

In the op-ed, McSally defended her smear of Raju, saying it's part of her "reputation" for "speaking candidly, sometimes in an edgy way."

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The Arizona senator did not address Raju's question about witnesses or new evidence in the op-ed. Instead, she attacked the "liberal media" for allegedly having an anti-Trump bias.

She also pledged to her Arizona constituents that she would "tell you the truth. To explain my votes. And to call 'em like I see 'em."

In the 11 days since her encounter with Raju, and despite her self-proclaimed knack for speaking candidly, McSally has yet to answer the question about Senate witnesses, even when the question was again posed to her by conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

But McSally did turn her exchange with Raju into a fundraising opportunity. McSally's campaign obtained the website LiberalHack.com within hours of the incident and began selling T-shirts with the words "You're a liberal hack, buddy" emblazoned on them, for $35.

McSally's office did not respond to a request for comment.

"It's clear that Martha McSally will do whatever it takes to avoid answering basic questions about carrying out her constitutional obligations," Brad Bainum, spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, said in an emailed statement, adding that McSally will always put "her personal political career first in Washington."

Dodging a question about evidence in Trump's Senate impeachment trial is not the first time McSally has avoided a substantive question from the press.

In November, McSally was asked if she "would be willing to ask a foreign country to dig up political dirt on" an opponent. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in part because he allegedly asked the government of Ukraine to investigate his potential political rivals.

McSally refused to answer the question then, too. Her likely Democratic opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, however, put out a statement saying his campaign would not ask for or accept foreign assistance "because it's against the law, and it's against the oath Senator McSally and I both took to defend our constitution and our democracy."

At the start of the impeachment trial, McSally voted with her Republican colleagues 11 times to block new evidence and witnesses from the impeachment trial. Democrats are seeking to pressure Republicans to support new evidence and witnesses in another series of votes expected later this week.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.