With her late husband under attack by President Donald Trump, Cindy McCain is calling on his supporters to "protect John's legacy" by donating money to a non-profit that supports the issues and programs that he considered priorities.
Cindy McCain opens her fundraising letter by invoking Sen. John McCain's path of service, from the U.S. Navy to a prisoner of war, and finally, to the U.S. Senate.
"Friends, the legacy and record of John McCain are under attack," Cindy McCain wrote. "Through the years, many of you heard John say, 'a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.' Today, the fight we are fighting is for John's integrity, his record and his legacy."
She asked supporters to donate to the McCain Institute Foundation, a charitable group that supports the work of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, which McCain helped get started in 2012 with unspent money from his 2008 presidential campaign.
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Cindy McCain is chair of the institute, which focuses most of its work on foreign policy, global security and policies that promote human dignity — such as combating human trafficking.
Her email comes after several days of Trump criticizing McCain, the six-term senator from Arizona who died Aug. 25, 2018. Trump's fury continues to burn over McCain's 2017 vote against a GOP effort to undo the Affordable Care Act and his passing along of a dossier detailing unverified information about Trump's alleged ties to Russia.
"... They gave it to John McCain who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes," Trump said in a Fox Business Channel interview set to air Friday. "That’s not good. And the other thing, he voted against 'repeal and replace.' Now, he’s been campaigning for years for repeal and replace. I’m not a fan. After all of this time, he’s — think of this — repeal and replace."
Over the past several days, Cindy McCain and her daughters, Meghan McCain and Bridget McCain, have defended John McCain in social media posts and on TV. Bridget, who has never spoken publicly about Trump's attacks on her dad, reminded the president that her father died just seven months ago.
With her fundraising email, Cindy McCain sought to use the feud to benefit the work her husband stood for. She did not mention Trump by name.
"John never gave up the fight, and neither will we," Cindy McCain wrote in an email to supporters. "Now more than ever, John would not want us to back down from a fight. He never did. The values John fought for weren't just his, they are and remain American ideals. When our leaders threaten those most cherished ideals — it's time for all of us to fight for them again."
Her email followed a fact-sheet that the McCain Institute is distributing that seeks to accurately portray the senator's military service and his policy positions on immigration, campaign finance reform and the Iraq War.
The genesis of Trump's latest broadsides against McCain seem to be newly unsealed court records, which revealed that a McCain associate distributed the explosive dossier to multiple reporters. That associate, David Kramer, was deposed in December 2017 as part of a legal battle waged by a Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev over BuzzFeed’s publication of the dossier.
Kramer is a former State Department official, an expert on Russia, and is an affiliated senior fellow at the McCain Institute.
McCain previously had acknowledged getting a copy of the dossier, which was a compilation of memos written by former British spy Christopher Steele, and delivering it to then-FBI Director James Comey.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Cindy McCain fundraises to 'protect' John McCain's legacy after latest Trump's attacks