Two survivors of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded Friday after conservative commentator Michelle Malkin criticized the senator's legacy on immigration issues during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In her remarks, Malkin took aim at both Democrats and moderate Republicans regarding immigration, arguing that both parties have failed to address the issue adequately, with many GOP lawmakers adopting left-wing views.
“It's the GOP sell-outs, not just the radical, open-borders left, that is in bed with immigration saboteurs,” Malkin said. “Like the ones who hijacked the tea party movement to shill for amnesty. Those are the real grifters cashing in and practicing deceit at the expense of their base and at the expense of our country.
“Sanctuary cities have metastasized and both parties are to blame,” Malkin continued. “And yes, I'm looking at you, retired Paul Ryan, and yes, I'm looking at you, Mitch McConnell.”
“And yes, I'm looking at you, Bush family, and yes, I'm looking at you, the ghost of John McCain,” she added -- with the McCain reference receiving cheers and applause from many in the crowd.
McCain served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 until his death from brain cancer last August at age 81. He was the Republican nominee for president in 2008 and was also known for his service in the U.S. Navy, including more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Malkin's remark prompted Cindy McCain, the senator's widow, to defend her husband on social media.
"You never knew @SenJohnMcCain," she wrote in a tweet directed to Malkin. "You should be so lucky."
Meghan McCain, the late senator’s daughter and a co-host of ABC's "The View," didn’t directly address Malkin, but retweeted a post made by CNN’s S.E. Cupp, who criticized the conservative commentator.
“CPAC was once a place to exchange conservative ideas. Now it’s just a place for agitprop and mean-spirited garbage,” Cupp wrote.