McCaskill Fighting Criticism Over Using Private Plane In Her Latest Senate Campaign
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri responded to reports and a tweet from President Trump about her using a private plane during what was billed as an RV campaign trip across the state to visit veterans. The story has brought back the nickname, "Air Claire", which came from criticism during her last campaign about private planes.
In 2011, McCaskill acknowledged reimbursing the Treasury Department after failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of property taxes on another private plane, which she eventually sold.
McCaskill was blasted by opponents, especially Trump and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who hopes to run against McCaskill for her Senate seat in November, for admitting to using the private plane during part of her 3 day tour, which was portrayed as a road trip in an RV.
Trump called out McCaskill Wednesday afternoon in a tweet that also endorsed Hawley, saying her use of "a luxurious private jet during her RV tour" shows that "RV's are not for her". Trump added, "so phony!"
Hawley also went after McCaskill on Twitter, saying, "it must be good to be rich and liberal". He urged McCaskill to give up the private plane for the rest of the campaign, adding that it's, "just 147 days. You can do it. Come live like the rest of us. I dare you."
McCaskill shot back, saying that she did not use the plane during the entire trip, just parts of it. "The plane picked me up at the end of one day after I spent all day on the RV and it took me to my overnight location," McCaskill told reporters Tuesday. "And the next day we used the plane to add a stop. But I was on the RV totally – two of the three days I was out."
She added: "Anybody could have followed me...they could have seen me when I got off the RV and when I got on the airplane...there was no effort to hide anything.”
A McCaskill aide claims no campaign funds or taxpayer dollars went towards the use of the plane, and says that McCaskill personally paid for all travel on the plane.
In a prepared statement, McCaskill followed up by saying, "Paying on my own dime to visit more Missouri veterans is not something I’m going to apologize for."