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. charlene

    why apology , fox news are recruiting people aren't they ?with all the hatered they spew

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Nick A

    hyperbole much lately, Senator McCain.

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Bill

    There he goes again, I wish John McCain could just get over his hatred of President Obama. He has done nothing to but criticize the new administration and has not had one word of support. If Senator McCain wants to help the Veterans then he should support Veterans legislation rather than vote against it. The American Legion has had some high praiise for the Democrats in Congress and the new President for their position on Veterans' issues. Why can't Senator McCain just get over it.?

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Kimberly

    Do these people EVER stop playing it up for the cameras?? HAHA, NO one wants an apology, but Janet did say she was sorry if it offended anyone. During this loons campaign, he and his tool palin brought out the very worst fears in people and made this mess, they should apologize to the American people for the way they acted and lied!

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. RB NJ

    When will Bush apologize for have thousands of military and civilians killed in Iraq? When will Bush apologize for providing POOR health care for us vets returning from Iraq,homeless and diabled. WHEN?

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Jerzjen

    John, is this supposed to be another one of your mighty-mice impressions. You'll sweep in and save the day? PLEASE!!! I guess you don't have anything else to do but twist the truth. You and and George Bush left our veterans flapping in the wind. Many come back broken and discouraged, and some navigate to groups that make them thibnk they feel their pain. This, in fact, applies to veterans and non-veterans alike. What the report is trying to do is bring to light the importance of providing veterans with the services they need. Of course in the 100 years you've been in the Senate you haven't done squat!!!

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. The Last Patriot

    Shameful how a government would bash its own veterans. Shameful stuff.

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Rochester

    Seems valid to me that it should be a concern worthy of having a report on. I mean, if you were a terrorist recruiter it would just simply be more economical to recruit experienced military personnel as opposed to children and teenagers who would have to be trained (and housed and fed and clothed) in very secret and undisclosed locations. I think McCain is just using the opportunity for something to whine about as a ruse to undermine the new administration. Warning that terrorists within our borders will target our veterans isn't any worse than warning teenagers that sex can get you STDs or that street gangs will recruit them or that women should be aware of strange men approaching them in parking lots. What's the big deal?

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. williefloyd

    Excuse me, but I must be reading or interpreting something wrong-sounds as if there are any "insults" they would be toward the extreme right-wing nuts of the GOP-certainly not aimed at any of our soldiers who serve us so valiantly.

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Audrey Thompson

    Look who's talking? He had to jump on the bandwagon but what has he done for the veterans himself?

    April 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. James P

    I'm a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, own a firearm and I have a Ron Paul bumper sticker on my car. I'm sure the Obama administration considers me a threat.

    April 21, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Craig

    McCain needs to understand that he not only lost, he is now irrelevant.

    April 21, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Michael M. Noonan

    McCain is exactly right. Why don't we get a third grade teacher as our chief of Homeland Security?

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Go John!

    The Obama white house is becoming the gaffe house.

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. jack

    Thank GOD the republicans are no longer in office! And thank GOD McCain is not our commander-in-chief... GOD bless America!

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. C Molina, Los Angeles, CA

    McCain is a bitter man who lost the election so now he's going to try and get into the spotlight by attacking the new administration every chance he gets. Shut up already and do your job, McCain. Stop worrying about every little thing someone says. Actions speak louder than words and so far, your actions are to attack the new administration. Glad he didn't win.

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Betty Bee

    I wish that man would just go away, maybe to Alaska? He didn't get it right when he was running for President and he doesn't get it right now. Please, someone tell him to shut up and stop trying to cause touble!

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. mtv

    Why didn't McCain defend the vetrans when Bush exhausted their tours in Iraq, also not taking care of them when they come home injured???? Another GOP Hypocrite

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Robin

    I agree, this report was very insulting. We have men and women fighting for our freedom everyday and this is how we repay them.

    Timothy McVeigh is not the face of veterans!

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Dana from NY

    Two words for McCain and all these righty's- SHUT UP! How about Obama is doing more for Veterans services than any GOP has done in over 8 years... so they really should just stop while they are ahead!

    April 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. JDQ

    Phooey. McCain must likewise ask the FBI for an apology for their report from last summer, in 2008, under G.W.Bush, that stated military were being recruited by right wing extremists. All this apology business is just political propaganda aimed at Rush and Glenn followers.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Mike

    Sorry John but after your selection of Palin you owe the country an apology.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Leilani

    Please keep these people out of the news...Cheney, Romney and McCain. They have nothing to offer but criticism.

    Get a life.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Bill

    Gee...do you think maybe the Republicans are fishing for anything to critcize Obama on?

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Unshrub

    McCain: SHUT UP.

    I am a veteran any you don't speak for me. The largest terrorist act on American soil committed by a US Citizen was committed by a veteran. So McCain shut up and let the adults speak for a while.

    We are tired of you and the other republicans who spend all of their time whinning because they are not the President.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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