Heard on the Hill

Ride, McSally, Ride

Arizona Republican celebrates women being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally shared a video of her driving a car in Saudi Arabia (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Martha McSally on Wednesday shared a video on Twitter of her driving a car in Saudi Arabia. The Arizona Republican recently returned from a congressional delegation trip to the Middle East with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

It was McSally’s first time in the kingdom in nearly two decades, according to her tweet.

As an Air Force fighter pilot serving in Saudi Arabia, McSally won a lawsuit against the Pentagon when she challenged an order that required female servicemembers off base to wear an abaya, a full-length black robe that Saudi women and most female visitors have to wear.

“When I was deployed here over 16 years ago, women — including U.S. servicewomen — couldn’t even sit in the front seat,” she tweeted. “Because of my lawsuit against the DoD, all restrictions were lifted off servicewomen except for the driving ban.”

“I don’t have an abaya on and I‘m driving a car. It’s a pretty awesome day,” she said in the video.

The ban on women driving motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia was only lifted in June 2018.  

McSally served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, retiring in 2010 as a full colonel.

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