Sen. John McCain took on two key 2016 Republican contenders Wednesday, expressing bafflement at Donald Trump’s continued popularity and criticizing Ted Cruz for his tactics in the Senate.
McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, gave his view of the 2016 field before a breakfast meeting with reporters on Wednesday, caveating with typical humor that his predictions, "speaking as the loser,” deserve “zero credibility.”
Fielding several questions regarding Trump—who leads in many GOP polls—McCain acknowledged he had disagreements with the front-runner. He referenced a recent, large focus group conducted by GOP message guru Frank Luntz, in which participants were asked about Trump’s background giving money to Democrats and previously supporting abortion rights.
“Every one of them said, 'We don’t care. We don’t care. We’re still in there for Trump,'” said McCain. “That’s a very interesting phenomena, and I don’t think we have seen anything quite like that—certainly not in my political lifetime.”
McCain underscored that the “traditional rules” of presidential campaigns don’t apply anymore. Reminding the reporters of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s infamous “oops” moment last presidential cycle, he snapped his fingers, and said, “Too bad—Adios, Governor.