Missouri’s Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is facing lively criticism from Republican opponents over her use of an airplane to travel across Missouri.
McCaskill tweeted a photo of staffers in front of her campaign RV May 25th before she made a series of campaign stops across the state.
Very excited to hit the road next week in this. Names anyone for the RV? We are off on a “Veterans for Claire” tour on Tuesday morning. pic.twitter.com/XihjI71AjV
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) May 26, 2018
Tuesday, the conservative Washington Free Beacon published a public GPS tracking map of her plane which closely followed the path of the RV over two days from St. Louis, down to Joplin, up to Kansas City, and over to Columbia.
The Beacon noted a live blog of the three-day tour never mentioned McCaskill’s use of her private plane it described as a single-engine turboprop that her disclosures “valued at more than $1 million dollars”.
McCaskill told Politico that the Free Beacon report was “not accurate” and stated that she was not “pretending” to use an RV with her use of a plane. “I spent two-plus days on the RV,” McCaskill told Politico, and the plane “picked me up at the end of one day, after I spent all day on the RV”.
President Donald Trump lobbed the biggest shot against her yesterday in a tweet while misrepresenting the type of aircraft she was using, saying McCaskill “flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state….People are really upset, so phony!”
Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state. RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
McCaskill issued a response late yesterday afternoon, saying “Paying on my own dime to visit more Missouri veterans is not something I’m going to apologize for.”
GOP operatives have been quick to pounce on McCaskill’s use of a plane as reported by the Free Beacon.
In an email titled “More lies and excuses from Air Claire”, National Republican Senate Committee Deputy Communications Director Bob Salera said, “Claire McCaskill got caught flying around Missouri on her supposed RV tour, and now she’s starting in with the excuses for why she couldn’t be bothered to drive the highways with “normal people.”
McCaskill’s likely Republican opponent in the November election, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, also mischaracterized the type of plane McCaskill used while criticizing her tour.
I thought you sold the “damn plane.” How about this: why don’t you give up using your luxury jet for the next 147 days? Just 147 days. You can do it. Come live like the rest of us. I dare you #MOSen https://t.co/IvjlSx6VxN
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 12, 2018
McCaskill was also hit with controversy over her use of a plane in 2011 when she reimbursed the Treasury Department for more than $88,000 for use of aircraft secured by her husband.
It’s been widely reported that President Trump plans to vigorously campaign for Republicans who are challenging Democratic incumbent Senators in states such as Missouri that he easily won in 2016.
Polling shows McCaskill with a slight but steady lead over Hawley in the Missouri Senate race, with the latest survey pegging her with a 48%-to-44% advantage.