The 25th Congressional District candidates both offered praise for John McCain in the aftermath of the Republican Arizona senator’s death on Saturday.
Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said he had met the senator and prisoner of war several times as a conferee on the National Defense Authorization Act.
“I got to talk to him a few times,” he said. “He was a very nice man to everyone he dealt with, an honorable person, and you felt that when you talked to him.
“He’s an American hero, and he had a lifetime of service to others,” he said. “I had the highest respect and great regard for Sen. McCain.”
Knight said he disapproved of President Trump’s decision to raise the White House flags back to full staff just after midnight Sunday, just a few hours after they were originally lowered to half-staff in response to McCain’s death Saturday.
“That was the wrong thing to do,” he said. “(President Trump) should’ve kept them at half-staff. I don’t know why the administration didn’t, and I think that was absolutely the wrong thing to do. They should’ve kept at least until the burial of Sen. McCain, as is the customary proceedings, and this is not right.”
Later Monday, the president ordered the White House flags to be once again lowered to half-staff.
Katie Hill, Knight’s Democratic challenger, said she strongly respected McCain despite being in a different political party.
“He was a public servant, and what he sacrificed for our country (in combat) is a big deal,” she said. “I come from a line of service members myself.
“I didn’t always agree with Sen. McCain, but something that stood out for him was he didn’t shy away from separating from partisan politics in the face of his values,” she said. “He did that with the (vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act), with President Trump on immigration values, and distancing himself when his party went in a different direction. I think as someone willing to step away from partisan politics to find a way to work together, I see him as somebody to look up to in that regard.”
Hill said that, in line with McCain’s example, she also saw herself as willing to break with the party if she were to be elected.
“There are certainly Democrats that I’ll disagree with on certain things,” she said. “Such as Democrats who are calling to abolish ICE, people who are saying to take away everyone’s guns and when people want to respond to frustrations with Republicans by continuing with this divisiveness and calling them names like fascists. I don’t agree with that all.”