early and often

Steve Schmidt Announces Breakup With Meghan McCain

There’s a lot to say about Schmidt. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Did you think former campaign strategist Steve Schmidt was done generating online drama this week? Well, you don’t know Schmidt.

A day after publishing a blog post excoriating his onetime hero John McCain for lying about an affair during the 2008 presidential campaign, the verbose Lincoln Project co-founder focused his ire (again) on Meghan McCain, the late senator’s daughter.

In a Twitter thread on Monday, Schmidt accused Meghan — no stranger to theatrics herself — of “playing politics” with John McCain’s 2018 funeral, which Schmidt was cut out of, and then launched into an extensive and highly personal attack. Sample tweets:

Schmidt then tweeted that he was putting an end to their relationship (though Axios reports they haven’t actually spoken in 14 years), appending a raised-palm emoji for emphasis.

Over the weekend, Schmidt had ridiculed Meghan, a former co-host of The View, for the extremely low hardcover sales of her new book (McCain maintains that the book was successful in audio form and that the physical edition was merely a “collectible”). He proceeded to catalogue her alleged bad behavior on the 2008 campaign trail, claiming she was a terror throughout.

In his blog post, Schmidt also detailed his lasting regret at having suggested Sarah Palin as a running-mate option for John McCain. In Schmidt’s telling, he soon realized she was unqualified and dangerous, but by then McCain was too fearful of crossing the Republican base to rectify the situation. He had some measured words for Palin on Monday as well:

This is a high level of internet conflict, even for a perpetual bomb-thrower like Schmidt. But in an interview with Axios, he dismissed the idea that his frenzied tweeting might be a sign that something is personally amiss.

“There is some soft consensus that has emerged, mostly from soft people that responding to smears and slurs and insanity is some combination of unhinged or giving attention,” he said. “This is as profoundly wrong a sensibility as there could conceivably be.”

Steve Schmidt Announces Breakup With Meghan McCain