April 21st, 2009
03:39 PM ET
11 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. Jimmy Boy

    It will never come. Obama will only apologize for America and not his own failings.

    April 21, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Franky

    For the record, Napalahsjdkd was the one who said it, and boy, you are slow...that's so cute though, the old man can talk.

    Wait a minute Senator, did you get your apology yet? I mean, from your party? LOL!!!

    You guys are a waste of time...

    April 21, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. RB NJ


    April 21, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. bv

    This nonsense gotta end!

    April 21, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Debra from Georgia

    John McCain go an retire in one of your eleven homes. Better yet offered some of the returning veterans a place to live.

    Shut up,

    April 21, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Junior

    You lost John, get over it.

    April 21, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Rick

    Janet Napolitano is another rank amateur in a totally clueless administration.

    April 21, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Shasta

    Did McCain wake up from his nap or something? A little slow there, Senator...

    April 21, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Dennis

    This administration does not understand nor respect the traditions of the military.

    April 21, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Lisa T

    McCain: are you going to demand an apology from the DHS govt. under Bush? THEY put out the same report in 2008!!! It kinda helps to get all the facts before making such demands!

    April 21, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Enlightened Voter

    Why should they apologize for telling the truth? And you need to apologize for unleashing the clueless pathological liar (palin) to the lower 48.

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Party Crasher

    I guess John forgot that people in the military are affected the same way as any other person. Being a Vet does not shield you from being lead down the wrong path.

    Maybe its McCain that owes and apology to the American public for trying to make political hay out of the report that only warns of some of the danger that may be out there.

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. obama/mama

    "after the Vietnam War, for years there was this portrayal of the Vietnam veteran as crazed and committing"

    John you displayed the above behavior during your run for president last year.

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Kyle

    Back step and do the D.C. shuffle all you want, but lets face it DHS's report is wrong. Our vetrans have defending our liberties with Honor and now the DHS is pointing fingers at them, comparing them with McVeigh? McCain is wrong on alot of this, but this time he's got my support. Obama's DHS needs to apologize for any misunderstandings – just say say that its the "politiicization of everything". ITS YOUR REPORT DHS! Own up, change things...thats the platform right?

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Ben

    I agree on this one...show some respect for the troops.

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Troy

    Is that so? Then Sen. McCain should explain why a a U.S. Marine was arrested yesterday for carrying bomb making materials on an airplane!

    No American is above the law, whether you were in the Military or not...

    Stop making excuses and start making us safe again!

    April 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Truth Hurts

    Obama don't owe nobody an apology. The GOP is the ones who needs to apology to the American people. Republicans has lost complete touch with the middle class. GOP is controlled by the radical right wings, so call christians, bigots and white surpremists.

    The truth will set you free. Obama administration will apologize when you apologize, first to the American people.

    April 21, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. ray

    the senator dosern't seem to remember the Oklahoma
    city bombing. Must be somehymers!

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. John W. Olver

    What part of Timothy McVeigh does John McCain still not understand. The Secretary has already apologized for any offense given and the VFW has supported the DHS report. As usual McCain is just rooting around for a little publicity. He has turned into a pathetic figure and ought to retire after this term before he makes even more a fool of himself.

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    Country First McCain.......
    Please tell us how to defeat Terrorism!
    Please tell us how to fix the economy!
    Please tell us how to restore our image!
    Please remind us which part of our Country is Real America!
    Please remind us why we didn't vote for you and "I'll get back at you Palin!

    Oh,,,, but please tell me why you opposed Jim Webbs Veteran's benefits package for education! Is that because you wanted to keep our soilders uneducated to the idiocracy of the Republican Party.

    Please you need to apologize for insulting our country during the elections and not running your own campaign of integrity!

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. scott

    It was a Bush appointee who prepared the report.

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Scott

    This is a complete creation of an issue by McCain to get some attention. The reality is that the report is correct and McCain is taking advantage of the veteran's issue to twist the truth.

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Party Crasher

    He waits until now to act as if Vets are alway on his mind. Yea, right.

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. elana

    The Republicans are desperately trying to find ANYTHING to take the new President and his Administration down! FOX news is working overtime to interview any one of them they can find to try to keep the GOP intact and find fault with President Obama! President Obama has accomplished more in a mere (92) days in office than the Bush Administration EVER accomplished in (8) years. Further, in my opinion, it's time to find "new blood" in the GOP party to reenergize the Republican base. And Sara Palin, John McCain, Dick Ceaney, Michael Steele, and all the rest who are on "this bandwagon" are not the answer!

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Soccer Nana

    Well, I hope McCain, et al are holding their breath waiting for that apology.

    The truth really hurts, doesn't it?

    There are many extremists who enter the military just for the sole purpose of learning about explosives.

    How do you think all the bombings of the 60's were carried out? The most recent on PUBLIC record was Timothy McVeigh.

    Who do you think puts the "how to build a bomb" stuff on the Internet? Extremists.

    April 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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