Sarah Palin Reacts To The Death Of John McCain, Says It’s ‘Unfortunate’ He Was Surrounded By Disloyal People

The former Alaska governor reflects on her ups and downs with the late Senator, but says she will always defend his military service.

Sarah Palin and John McCain
Ross D. Franklin / AP Images

The former Alaska governor reflects on her ups and downs with the late Senator, but says she will always defend his military service.

Sarah Palin is speaking out on her friendship and working relationship with the late John McCain. The Arizona senator died on Saturday at age 81 after battling stage four brain cancer.

After McCain’s death was announced, Palin took to Twitter to write, “Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life – and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.”

Palin, who was McCain’s vice presidential running mate during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, also remembered the “good times” she had with the Senator, but she said it was “unfortunate” that he was surrounded by “people who weren’t serving him well” during his presidential run.

In an interview with Daily Mail TV, Palin said McCain, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, will be remembered as an America hero, even by those who didn’t agree with his politics.

”John McCain will be remembered, I think he should be remembered, as an American hero when you consider his military service. The physical and mental hell he went through in service to our country. I think go ahead criticize his politics, but you bring up that military service, you slam him as a vet, and I’ll defend him as aggressively as I defend my own kids.”

Palin went on to describe McCain as her friend, revealing the “good times” she had with McCain was when it was just the two of them or their families together. But the former Alaska governor said the late Senator was surrounded by disloyal people in the political arena.

“He will be remembered as an American hero but he was surrounded by disloyal people who didn’t serve him well.”

“I respect his military service,” Palin continued. “I think it’s unfortunate that he had people around him – and they continued to be around him for a very long time – who weren’t serving him well. They certainly weren’t serving the country well with what they were trying to do. I believe he was told things about what America really wanted or really needed because he’s been in that DC bubble for so many years. ”

Palin said she didn’t think McCain was as well connected as he should have been and that he relied on polls and went from there.

“I think that’s unfortunate because he had some strange people around him and…disloyal people, and you know, I don’t say that as like hate speech or griping about it, it’s just a fact they were just some not nice people.”

The former Alaska governor also downplayed the revelation in McCain’s 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave, that he wished he had chosen Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman as his VP running mate instead of her. Palin, who previously attributed the “gut punch” line in the book to ghostwriters, revealed that McCain had never said such a thing to her and that the two had kept in touch over the years despite their differences and failed campaign.

“I’ll remember the good times that’s for darn sure,” Palin said. “We’ve always had great conversations- and we’ve been able to agree to disagree, certainly on political issues. I’ll remember the good times… and I won’t re-hash the strange times that happened after the campaign that some of his people orchestrated.”