Sen. John McCain thinks anti-war activists are ‘low-life scum’

The Arizona senator isn't one for mincing words.


Miles Klee


Published Jan 30, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 3:54 pm CDT

Observers at a Senate Armed Services Committee budget hearing on Thursday caught a flash of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)’s infamous temper when Code Pink protesters interrupted the testimony of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, whom they want arrested for war crimes.

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“I’ve been a member of this committee for many years,” the straight-talking Arizona senator and committee chair groused as Capitol Police ushered out the chanting activists, “and I’ve never seen anything as disgraceful, and outrageous, and despicable, as the last demonstration that just took place.”

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A seething McCain then informed one vocal straggler, “You’re gonna have to shut up, or I’m gonna have you arrested. Get out of here, you low-life scum.”

The temper tantrum from the irascible Vietnam War veteran drew weak applause.

Kissinger, now a frail 91 years old, appeared before the committee with Madeleine Albright and George P. Shultz, two fellow former secretaries of state. The anti-war demonstration didn’t seem to faze him, but then again, when your career spawns entire books about how you ought to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, this probably feels like a drop in the bucket.

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As for McCain’s indignation, well, this is the man who once called his own wife a “trollop” and a “cunt.” We’d say Code Pink got off easy.

Photo via Medill DC/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2015, 1:40 pm CST