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First Woman Combat Pilot Defends Being 'Feisty' With Tutu Protester Who Insulted U.S. Troops

Then U.S. Rep. (now Senator) Martha McSally, R-Ariz., waits to speak at a rally, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Arizona race for U.S. Senate pits the first woman pilot to fly in combat against a woman who partnered with anarchists and witches to lead anti-war rallies where she passed out flyers depicting American soldiers as terrorists. Yet Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) has taken flak for going negative against Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — and The Arizona Republic cited this as the reason it could not support McSally in the race.

The editorial board of The Arizona Republic attacked both McSally and Sinema for “wearing false fronts.” It suggested that McSally is not “being herself,” and that the first woman combat pilot “looked like the smaller person” in the debate because she went after Sinema. The editors endorsed Sinema because she was slightly less vitriolic.

In an interview on Tuesday, McSally shot back against this characterization. “Look, it’s not true,” she told Fox News. Referring to The Arizona Republic, McSally said, “they endorsed Hillary Clinton. I am myself.” (The same newspaper ran a political cartoon showing Sinema shooting McSally out of the sky with a rocket launcher.)

“I have been serving our country with distinction. I flew 325 combat hours in the A-10, deployed six times,” the Republican explained. “Now I’m deployed to the House and I’m going to keep fighting for the things that matter to Arizonans.”

“I’m a little feisty — I’m a fighter pilot. I had to survive as a woman, I had three older brothers, so that’s who I am,” McSally argued.

The veteran launched into her opponent’s “radical extremist past: anti-military with her party, open borders, she voted against the tax cuts, you name it.”

“And tapes have been revealed in the last few weeks of her calling Arizona crazy and the ‘meth lab of democracy,’ and denigrating us, the very state she wants to represent,” McSally said.

Responding to the criticism that McSally has been too negative in her remarks about Sinema, the Republican emphasized that Sinema is responsible for her own radical history.

“I didn’t put Krysten Sinema in a pink tutu, she put herself in a tutu, protesting our troops, protesting after 9/11, which are extremist positions,” McSally declared. “Depicting our troops as skeletons, saying that we were the ones conducting terror in the Middle East in the flyers handed out at her protest, calling to shut down Luke Air Force Base, saying it’s okay for an American to join the Taliban.”

“We’re just wanting to make sure that the Arizonans have seen what she’s done and what she’s poured her passion into,” the Republican argued. “On my part, I served 26 years in the military. I was the first woman to fly in combat in U.S. history. I’ve given my life and put my life on the line for our freedoms and our way of life, and I’m ready to deploy to the Senate and continue that fight.”

Sinema is running as a moderate, touting her voting record in line with Republicans. While she has voted in line with Republicans a great deal of the time, she also helped orchestrate Obamacare and has consistently pushed LGBT issues. McSally has warned, not without reason, that Sinema is driven by a radical liberal agenda and that her history should disqualify her from serving in the U.S. Senate.

Indeed, it seems surreal that a Senate race would pit the first woman combat pilot against a woman who painted American troops as terrorists and said it was okay for Americans to join the Taliban. What message would it send if Arizona voters chose the protester over the veteran?

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.