Now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired the former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe on behalf of the Trump administration, a new voice has joined the conversation: his wife. Dr. Jill McCabe, who is an emergency room pediatrician, spoke out on what she sees as as the mistreatment of her family by Trump and the media. She also explained her personal backstory and why she sees herself as a doctor first and an accidental politician second.
Jill McCabe, who ran for the Virginia state senate in 2015, first came onto the national scene when The Wall Street Journal ran an article about how former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — a close ally of Hillary Clinton — had donated money to Jill McCabe for her senate run.
That information was used by President Trump to imply that the investigation into Clinton's emails was not handled properly. He asserted that Andrew McCabe couldn't have done his due diligence, since his wife was associated with a Clinton ally. However, Trump's implications ignore the fact that Jill McCabe declared her run for the state senate before the Clinton email scandal broke in the news — and more than a year before her husband was promoted to deputy director of the FBI — so it's not like McAuliffe's donation could have been part of any sort of Clinton-related deal.
The doctor-turned-candidate explained why she got involved in politics in the op-ed. It was not to make high-level connections. Working in the emergency room one day, Jill McCabe says she was approached by a reporter following a group of politicians, who asked what she thought about expanding Medicaid. Her response (that she supported it based on her work in the ER) led to her being recruited to run for office.
After deciding to run, Jill McCabe says one of her first concerns was for her husband's job. She wasn't sure that she would even be allowed to. In the end, they sat down with the FBI ethics experts to understand what the rules were. She writes in her op-ed that they exceeded them. Andrew McCabe never attended any of her fundraisers, or even drove the family around the neighborhood to knock on doors.
She says that all donations to her campaign — including $467,500 from McAuliffe’s political action committee and another $207,788 from the Virginia Democratic Party — were reported. The Clinton emails never came up, she wrote. "I know enough from being married to Andrew for 20 years to know what is right and what is wrong," Jill McCabe wrote.
Ultimately, the Duke Medical School grad lost her election. "I lost my race in November 2015. It was disappointing, and particularly hard for me because I have always been the kind of person who gives everything her all. But I felt good about my effort and enjoyed returning to normal life," Jill McCabe said in her op-ed.
But that was not the end of her days in public. When The Journal reporter contacted her and the story ran, Trump began attacking Andrew McCabe from the campaign trail. Even after he won, the tweets and other attacks didn't stop.
Jill McCabe had thought they might. "After the 2016 election, I thought for a while that it was all over — at least now that President-elect Trump won, he would stop coming after us," she wrote. "How naive that was. After then-FBI Director James B. Comey was fired, we knew that Andrew could be the next target of the president’s wrath."
And he was. Jill McCabe went on to say what her thought on why this is happening to her and her family:
I have spent countless hours trying to understand how the president and so many others can share such destructive lies about me. Ultimately I believe it somehow never occurred to them that I could be a serious, independent-minded physician who wanted to run for office for legitimate reasons. They rapidly jumped to the conclusion that I must be corrupt, as part of what I believe to be an effort to vilify us to suit their needs.
She ended by saying that although she will likely not run for office again, the reason still exists. "The patients who inspired me to run continue to come to the ER every day, and they need our help." Meanwhile, Jill McCabe plans to rely on her family and work to move on.