Republican Martha McSally accused her opponent, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, of supporting treason during their Arizona Senate debate on Oct. 15.
McSally was referring to a recently unearthed 2003 interview that Sinema gave on a local radio station.
The host, challenging Sinema’s anti-war views, asked her if she would be fine with him joining a terrorist group.
“As an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there, and I’m fighting for the Taliban, I’m saying that’s a personal decision,” Ernest Hancock told Sinema, who was a Green Party activist at the time.
“Fine. I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead,” she replied.
McSally, a former combat fighter pilot, demanded an apology on Monday night. “I’m going to ask right now if you’re going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it it’s ok to commit treason,” she said.
But Sinema refused to apologize, saying her opponent was trying to denigrate her. “Martha has chosen to run a campaign like the one you’re seeing right now, where she’s engaging in ridiculous attacks and smearing my campaign,” she said.
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For Sinema, it’s the latest comment to surface from past interviews and speeches. During a speech to Netroots Nation in 2010, she referred to Arizona as “The meth lab of democracy.” And in another instance, she spoke to a crowd of Texans and told them how they could “stop your state from becoming Arizona.”
“Over the past several years, people would watch what’s going on in Arizona and be like, ‘Damn, those people are crazy,'” Sinema said in the video from 2011. “Is it something with the water? No, the water’s fine, we stole it from Colorado.”
Sinema is vying with McSally for the open Senate seat left by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican considered to be one of the swing votes on the Senate.
While McSally has hit Sinema on her past comments, Sinema has tried to link McSally to President Donald Trump, claiming McSally would blindly follow Trump if she were elected to the Senate.
“Martha has a 98 percent voting record with her party and with her president, which I think demonstrates that she’s not willing to do what’s right for Arizona if the president’s wrong on an issue,” Sinema said on Monday.