Cindy McCain, the widow of late Arizona senator John McCain, has apologized after wrongfully claiming that she rescued a toddler from human trafficking at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. McCain went on the radio to brag about how she saved a child from traffickers, but police later confirmed that the whole situation was actually a false alarm, thanks to a presumptuous Cindy McCain. As McCain herself describes, she saw a child at the airport who was traveling with adults of a different race and got a bad feeling that something wasn’t right.
Speaking with KTAR News on Monday, McCain said:
“I came in from a trip I’d been on and I spotted — it looked odd. It was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had, and something didn’t click with me. I tell people: Trust your gut. I went over to the police and told them what I thought, and they went over and questioned her. And by God, she was trafficking that kid.”
McCain assumed that the woman was waiting for a guy who was “buying the child.”
“A toddler. It was a toddler. She was waiting for the guy who bought the child to get off the airplane,” McCain said.
On Wednesday, the Phoenix Police Department clarified that the family who McCain reported wasn’t actually doing anything wrong.
Sgt. Armando Carbajal of the Phoenix Police Department said that “officers determined there was no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment” following a welfare check.
McCain quickly posted an apology on Twitter, saying:
“At Phoenix Sky Harbor, I reported an incident that I thought was trafficking. I commend the police officers for their diligence. I apologize if anything else I have said on this matter distracts from ‘if you see something, say something.'”
At Phoenix Sky Harbor, I reported an incident that I thought was trafficking. I commend the police officers for their diligence. I apologize if anything else I have said on this matter distracts from “if you see something, say something”
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) February 7, 2019
McCain says that she hopes this experience will not deter other travelers from snitching on people who they might find suspicious.
The McCain Institute issued a statement to AzCentral indicating that the ethnicity of the “possible trafficker” was not the reason why she reported the situation:
“When Cindy reported what she thought was an incident of trafficking at the airport she was only thinking about the possible ramifications of a criminal act, not the ethnicity of the possible trafficker. Her hyper sensitivity to looking for trafficking in this instance was not correct, but it should in no way distract from the broader importance that we all have a responsibility to be aware of this kind of crime. This incident should in no way discourage anyone from reporting potential trafficking issues to law enforcement.”
McCain says that this is a good example of why people should always tell authorities when they see something suspicious. However, this is more an example of why people should mind their own business than make baseless claims that may have unintended and severe consequences. Luckily, this situation was resolved without incident, but sending the police after someone, especially an innocent parent, could potentially change their life and their children’s lives forever.