Sarah Palin called it a “gut punch” to be “publicly disinvited” to the late Sen. John McCain’s funeral last year.
Palin, the former Alaska governor, was McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, and was the first woman nominated by the Republican Party to be vice president.
In a television interview on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday, Palin said she was surprised to find that she was on the list of people who had been close with McCain who didn’t get an invite to the funeral.
“They didn’t have to embarrass me and embarrass others,” she said. “And it wasn’t just me, it was other good people in our campaign back in 2008 who were very, very loyal to Senator McCain.”
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In “The Restless Wave,” his final memoir that came out in April 2018, McCain, R-Ariz., said he regretted choosing Palin as his running mate. He said he wished he had gone with his friend, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., instead.
But in the same book, McCain defended Palin.
“She stumbled in some interviews, and had a few misjudgments in the glare of the ceaseless spotlight and unblinking cameras,” McCain wrote. “Those missteps, too, are on me. She didn’t put herself on the ticket. I did. I asked her to go through an experience that was wearing me down, that wears every candidate down. I made mistakes and misjudgments, too.”
Palin attributes the ridicule she faced during and after the 2008 race to a poorly run presidential campaign. The GOP ticket lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
“They were looking for someone to blame for the really crappy type of campaign they ran,” she said. “And I was a scapegoat. So that’s just in the past, though. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, and I certainly learned through that.”
Palin said she and the six-term senator had “a perfectly fine relationship” and their families got along. She said she corresponded with Meghan McCain, McCain’s daughter, expressing her condolences about McCain’s illness, a deadly form of brain cancer. McCain died Aug. 25.
“I heard it from the media — I didn’t hear it from him — that he was disappointed,” Palin said.
While he was alive, McCain was always complimentary of Palin in his public remarks. “Sarah and I have maintained a very close and warm relationship,” he told The Arizona Republic in 2014.
Follow Alexis Egeland on Twitter @alexis_egeland.