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. Jack

    Two words for ya, John: TIMOTHY McVEIGH.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. djdjdjs

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

    WRONG. AGAIN John.

    Remember the dude Timothy McVey John?

    Paranoid nutjobs with ax's to grind, thinking the government is taking their beloved guns away.

    April 21, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. McLoser

    Jimmy Boy....When you become Jimmy Man let us know.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Acrab

    Napolitano already apologized and explained this. You lost McCain. Maybe you should demand an apology from Rush who said, "Torture does work, it broke John McCain".

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Robert, Houston, TX

    riiiight mccain. you'll get an apology as soon as the non-radical muslims get one. things sound different when you're the one being targeted huh?

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Paul

    The report says hate groups target veterans to join them because their military skills would be useful, not that vets are more likely to join such groups. But I guess reading comprehension is less important to Sen. McCain than getting his fix of TV airtime, the pompous old blowhard.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. LA13

    I gotta agree with John on this one. What in the world does anyone think is to be gained by trying to connect those dots? It makes no more sense to take that position than it is to say that professional wrestlers commit more domestic violence than the general public.

    Janet, Maybe you think that anyone that volunteers for Military duty is already an extremist. You sure as hell aren't a pacifist if you volunteer. Maybe we should just do away with the Military after all all they do is get involved in Wars. Its all their fault, right?

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Bob

    More grandstanding by McCain? John, the party's over....You lost......

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Mike

    I guess McCain is allying himself in the wing-nut camp that is expressing false outrage and misrepresenting returning veterans as targets of the administration. What a cheap way to try and score political points. This is why you lost the election Sen. McCain, and this is why your party is politically irrelevant at the moment. No one is buying the snake oil that you are selling anymore.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Lisa

    I believe I read this study was commissioned and completed under the Bush administration – just recently released? So maybe McCain should ask Bush for an apology instead? (for many, MANY things beyond this of course!)

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Mark - Berwyn, PA

    Obama is an outright embarassment to this country and all we stand for. If he dislikes it so much, move!!!!

    I think we the voters owe the world an apology for electing such a a misguided, inexperienced, dishonest fool as the leader of our great and proud nation.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. tedious898

    Since when is McCain pro-veterans / pro-servicemen and women?

    The guy has the lowest rating of any Senator from Veterans Groups. He voted no increase in educational benefits, pro stop lost measures, increased deployments and longer service for lesser benefits.

    Senator McCain Sir, I think you are the one that needs to apologize. Now go sit down and do some work to show the honor to our service men and women afforded you.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. R Wolf

    McCain you are such a fool. The statement is true. You're just trying to get your name back in the paper because you're all but forgotten. President Obama doesn't need you to tell him anything. You're a blowhard and a hypocrite. You can't even say anything nice about a person you told the Country was ready to help lead the nation. Thank goodness you lost.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. John

    Wasn't that east coast sniper also a veteran?

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Scott

    This is pathetic...the fact is a major portion of this report was authorized in 2008 by the Bush Administration and was compiled by the FBI under Bush. So get your apology from your good buddy Georgie!! McSame and his idiot compatriots also are intentionally forgetting that Homeland Security put out a report about leftist extremism as well. Do you see and lefties demanding apologies and acting all insulted??? NO! These are all diversionary tactics. The report singles out Neo-nazis, Skin-heads, etc and points out how they would try to recruit disaffected veterans (which is exactly what you would expect them to do!!). It so funny how the conservatives are trying to act so wounded and insulted by this. Its really sad that it is still news. Wake up people.

    April 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Gail in Texas

    Take a rest John, you need it. The apology was made several days ago for those that don't understand english too well. It seems that some people thrive on mis-interpreting political statements. Signed, a veteran.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Don

    Now even John McCain can't or will not read. I have never in my life seen so much misinformation put out by people who just want to cause trouble. The report clearly stated veterans might be TARGETS of extremists. NOT that they are or would become extremists. I was a McCain fan but no more. The man has lost it.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Paul from Phoenix

    Napolitano is a joke. She was a joke of a Governor, and she is a joke of a Homeland Security Secritary.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. RA

    A hot button issue? WOW? Do you want to be in the news? Get to some real issues.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Sharon Kitchen

    no ,he does not have to appologize.

    Yes.............there are many people who can not stand the "fact" that there is an Afican-American as President.

    But........thankfully they are in the MINORITY.

    get a grip GOP.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. carol

    McCain misses the point here. The report is not calling veterans extremists, it is saying that they may fall victim to extremists or that these groups may try to take advantage of them. As usual, he is confused.

    April 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Maurice from Ontario

    I don't feel as if the WH needs to apologize to the Veterans. The report simply indicates that right-wing extremists seek to recruit any and all who might be vulnerable to their propaganda. I think Janet Napolitano expressed her thoughts quite well.

    Sen. McCain, cool your jets! You know exactly what was meant. Don't exacerbate the situation more than it has been by members of the media and by (other) right-wing proponents.

    April 21, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Frank

    Leave it to Senator "Black and White" McCain to blithely disregard all nuance in search of a divisive and erroneous slight against veterans. No one can intelligently disregard the fact that soldiers returning from battle may be frustrated & unhappy. These are the conditions this report cites as increasing the likelihood of extremism. McCain saying the DHS is calling soldiers extremist by nature is akin to saying a wealthy old white man is incapable of empathy.

    McCain is not this dumb, unless bitterness has gotten the best of him.

    April 21, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Samuel

    I demand an apology from the GOP for 8 years of dictatorship where America was insulted and embarrassed on the worldwide stage.

    I demand an apology for 8 years of watching our civil rights be destroyed a little at a time.

    I demand an apology from the GOP for belittling the American people, insulting us at every opportunity, for treating us in a demeaning manner.

    I demand an apology from the GOP for getting the US into an illegal war, for spending us into debt with fiscal irresponsibility.

    April 21, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Nick

    I'm sorry, but asking for an apology is ludicrous. There's no doubt that (through absolutely NO fault of their own) many Vietnam War veterans came home with mental issues BECAUSE of the war. There's also no doubt that a lot of US soldiers committed war crimes while in Vietnam. Maybe that's why their reputation is tarnished. As an American, I thank the honorable majority of soldiers who served our country in Vietnam. But there were some who were so twisted by war that they did crazy, criminal things. This minority blackened the United States military's reputation worldwide.
    As for Iraq, war leaves people vulnerable. Right-wing extremist recruiters are a threat to vulnerable soldiers. There's nothing wrong with the report being published.

    April 21, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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