April 21st, 2009
03:39 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain demands White House apology

McCain said a recent DHS report is 'insulting' to veterans.
McCain said a recent DHS report is 'insulting' to veterans.

(CNN) – A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security is downright "insulting" to veterans, Arizona Sen. John McCain said Monday.

In an interview on FOX News, the Vietnam veteran and former Republican presidential candidate said the Obama administration owes veterans an apology after releasing a report last week suggesting that members of the military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could fall victim to "right-wing extremism."

Specifically, the report - "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" - said right-wing extremist groups may be using the recession and the election of the nation's first African-American president to recruit members.

"The last people on earth we need to worry about are our veterans," McCain said. "And by the
way, after the Vietnam War, for years there was this portrayal of the Vietnam veteran as crazed and committing - having committed war crimes. There were all of these problems they were going to have. Studies years later have proven that it's totally false."

Related:  Napolitano defends report

McCain also took issue with the report's suggestion that Timothy McVeigh's military background made him more susceptible to committing terrorist acts.

"Timothy McVeigh didn't learn to make that huge bomb while he was in the military," McCain said. "He learned it afterwards. So to point out one veteran who committed an act of atrocity I think is outrageous. And as a veteran and having thousands and thousands of friends of mine who are fellow veterans, I think a real apology is owed throughout the administration.

Appearing on CNN's "State of The Union" on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the report is not meant to paint veterans themselves as "right-wing extremists."

"The report is not saying veterans are extremists, far from it," she told CNN's John King. "What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that."

The homeland security secretary also expressed regret that in "the politicization of everything that happens in Washington, D.C.," some have taken offense to the report.

"But when you read the report, what it was saying is that, look, we have a threat of terrorism within our own shores and one of the groups being targeted to see if they will be aligned with that are some of our veterans," she said.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. chelle

    Why let facts get in the way of reality??? Mr. McCain the report does not infer that all veterans are terrorists. It merely says that right wing groups could try and recruit them. As for comparing them to Timothy McVeigh – well again the fact is he was a veteran!!!! And McCain also needs to remember that this report was prepared by a Bush appointee – it is not scewed towards an ideology – it is presenting facts.

    April 21, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. William Charlotte, NC

    John, Go away!

    April 21, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Johnny Garcia

    Well I'd have to say as a young adult entering the military; It would'nt be of importance to me what any politicians are looking to do. Now by nature, I'm a liberal and I would feel that my inteligence would be somewhat insulted if the administration's officials are worried that I might get swayed into the conservitive right wing. I don't think this is a legitimate homeland security issue. This is non-sense and Security Secretary Napolitano needs to worry about real and dangerous situations concerning our safety; And not every veteran is conservative by the way. I'm going into the military a liberal and I'm pretty sure that's how I'll come out.

    April 21, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Amusing how he managed to ignore the vets until now.

    April 21, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Alice

    It is true about veterans becoming prey to extremism. Right wing extremism happened in my own family after the Vietnam war to a kin of mine.

    April 21, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Mark

    McCain is pathetic. He had his day in the sun. After losing his second attempt at the Presidency (big time), his career has no where else to go. He is old and no one under 40 cares about his war exploits, which is apparently his only accomplishment. As an FYI, during the past several months up here in Washington state, there have been a number of robberies and beatings all perpetrated by Fort Lewis soldiers. To me, there is something wrong with the military today.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. MARIA, CALIFORNIA

    McCain forgot all the nutty things he did while he was trying to beat obama, got himself another nut job to be his vice, told us the fundamentals of the economy are strong. suspended his campaign to act like he was saving the world economic crisis. acted like a complete nut while debating president obama. the proof is in the pudding.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. nking

    Uhh wasn't mcveigh a veteran. The report is factual and it did not say they were extremists it said they are targeted by these groups and they are often pulled into this foolishness. Why is the GOP so dedicated to misinformation?

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Thank you

    why are these old grummpy white G.O.Pers think they are running this country? Shut up John McCain you are not the President....

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. T Mckinley

    John McCain is one of the few Republicans I actually respect. Having said that, I must disagree with his opinion that absolutely none of our Veterans could ever possibly fall prey to right-wing extremist groups.

    While the vast majority of our Veterans are certainly rational and sane individuals, irrespective of political views or affilations, there may indeed be a few nut cases out there who hold to white-supremacist views and resent the fact that a black man is now commander in chief.

    To completely ignore ofrdeny the fact that some of our Veterans, even a handful, could potentially fall prey to right-wing extremist groups, is to stick one's head in the sand and pretend that everything is just OK.

    Just like saying..."The fundamentals of our economy are strong..."

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Chad

    As a Gulf War Veteran let me say that I totally agree with the DHS report. Veterans are more likely to be led astray by some sort of radical right wing militia group. You can look at the two most famous incidents in recent history. McVeigh and the WWI Bonus Marchers in the 1930s.

    We veterans are a trained force released into civil society to try and cope and become civilians again. The majority of the military lean to the right and are generally populist minded. Its easy to see that the less educated amongst us veterans could be led astray and pumped up over some perceived ill treatment by whatever administration is currently in power.

    The key to solving those sorts of problems is treating veterans a whole lot better than they are currently treated. These guys volunteer to join the military but many never assumed we'd be bogged down in a modern war for many years. Its a gamble they take and they follow orders and do what they are told risking their lives for us whether the conflict is justified or not back home. Putting their lives at risk calls for them to be treated in a special manner when they return to civilian life. Otherwise you might get an occasional unhappy or mentally traumatized individual doing something nobody wants to see.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    If McCain is so concerned about our military, where is his legislation to improve the plight of veterans and retirees and their families?

    Seems he likes to run off at the mouth, but doesn't deliver when he has the opportunity.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. LoMar

    "The last people on earth we need to worry about are our veterans"???

    SERIOUSLY???

    A VETERAN threatened to KILL ME on the bus this Saturday. I was just sitting there minding my own business!

    If the previous administration had done more for veterans like helping them get treatment for PTSD we would have less to worry about. Why is it that GOP-lead administrations provide the least benefits for our veterans yet they profess the most respect?

    Some veterans are ticking time bombs. I bet the ones yelling "KILL HIM" at the McCain/Palin rallies were veterans!

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Kitchen Police

    Not one Republican has a clue about this report. Especially John McCain.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. MAC

    McCain forgot all the nutty things he did while he was trying to beat obama, got himself another nut job to be his vice, told us the fundamentals of the economy are strong. "suspended his campaign to act like he was saving the world economic crisis. acted like a complete nut while debating president obama. the proof is in the pudding.

    April 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Ms Hudson

    An apology for what? The truth?

    Wow! When a black person becomes the leader of the world's most powerful nation, amazing how the most trivial items suddenly become issues of national prominence.

    Poor John McCain: picked Palin as a running mate; cheated on his wife; lost his cool repeatedly during the campaign. Yes. Mr. McCain...anything he says surely is guided by extreme intellect and sensitivity.

    RIGHT – the guy who tried to pander to women for their vote, and ended up insulting all who have personal integrity, intellect, insight and inititiative.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. MN gal who voted for Obama

    The report simply reinforces that we need to take care of our soldiers who return from war, not exploit them for political purposes, John McCain. Shame on you John McCain. You embarrass this country by picking an incompetent for your VP nominee and now this. Just go away already. Your age is really beginning to show in a very bad way.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. dbacchus

    Where have you been when THE SAME report was created in 2008 by Bush administration? I remember no phony outrage then :)
    Seriosly, McCain you should RETIRE and let your daugther speak, she makes much more sense.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Axel

    Ummmm McCain, Timothy McVeigh was a vet, stop putting politics into our homeland defense analysis, thanks.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain, the same John McCain that refused Vets a stimulous, the same John McCain who refused Vets an increase in pay, the same John McCain who has never offered one of his 11 mansions for veterans living on the street, the same John McCain who has capitalized off Vets who died in Vietnam. No McCain, you have turned your back on Veterans too many times and Janet N. has already made that apology.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. BKrause

    Get a life, John. Can't you find something positive to do with your time?

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. jim

    This affirmative action president and his cronies are too busy dodging taxes, bowing to Saudi kings and partying with Latin American socialists to worry about treating real Americans with respect. Obama hates white people!

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. I Am The Not-So-Powerful Wizzard of Rush

    It's not the veterans, nimrod, it's the right wing fringe hate groups that are trying to recruit them.

    Now, "Get Off of My Lawn".

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. 3monkies

    I guess(according to the idiots that post here) The Obama administration should apologize to every segment of society that is profiled! That's EVERYBODY you fools! Everybody falls into one slot or another. Military personnel aren't above the law or immune to the same human reactions that civilians are… Geesh. Use some common sense…

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. r.austin

    when will john mccain apologize for unleashing sarah palin and joe the plummer on us and all of that hate. when john mccain apologize for all of the whining outraged rhetoric since obama has been in office. there are some who are right wing extremists, mad, angry people who will go off at the drop of the hat. I lived through the vietnam era, and i am seeing reports of veterans and others commiting suicide and domestic violence acts. obama's administration did not say veterans would be a party to this, he said they could be approach.

    April 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13