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. GrandMa of the Presidents

    I am a 105 year old woman. I have seen Presidents come and go in my life. I used to be Republican, but you know everytime they get into the White House, they just mess up everything. Now I am a democrat because I believe they are for the people. This Obama man is for the American People. I have not known a president, even Roosevelt that has done so much in so little time. The Republicans are afraid of his success and are now playing dirty games to make him look bad. But you know in the end, good will triumph over evil much like the Democrats have triumped over the Republicans.

    Granny says what she means.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Sean

    Really? Veterans are the last ones we have to worry about? Wasn't Timothy McVeigh a veteran?

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Joe

    Sen. McCain needs a lesson in history. After World War One, it was exactly the veterans who were recruited by the right wing in Germany for their new political movement–the Nazi party. It was in the midst of an economic crisis and lot of people felt their country was headed in the wrong direction. Sound familiar? The veterans were trained in using weapons, and those who couldn't find jobs and were disillisusioned made good recruits for the extremists.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Beka

    Wasnt this news last week? Sounds like McCain is trying to sow a seed about a vast left wing conspiracy....You have a choice JOHN, support the Rush Limbaughs' who use your behavior at the Hanoi Hilton as a good reason to torture....OR ARE YOU GOING TO STAND UP FOR JUSTICE AND PRESERVE WHAT YOU GAVE THOSE 4 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE FOR?

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. mytabloids

    This is a non-story people. Can't we use a little common sense for a moment?

    If you were a radical right wing group, where would you look for recruits? Hmmm? The ACLU...or former military people with specialized training?

    Funnier yet is that McCain and the GOP in general have managed to underfund the Vet's Administration...and so many returning men and women are not getting the care, they deserve; much off which is in the area of mental health.

    McCain. You lost. Go away...

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |

    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 usthe fundenmental 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 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Doug

    Hey John,

    I was in the military for 5 years and served in Afghanistan. My experience is that there are many wackos in the military. Sorry, just because you serve in the military doesn't mean you are beyond reproach. Does anyone remember Tim McVey? Yeah, the terrorist are even in our military.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Marine Wife

    Speaking as the wife of a former Marine, it must be said that just because someone is a veteran does not mean that they are more or less likely to be involved in extremist groups. However, just because someone is a veteran it also doesn't preclude them from violence.

    Does anyone remember that Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bombing) was a veteran?

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    So the new administration says the same thing as the last one did and now McCain is upset? Can Republicans please see things for what they are and stop being so hypocritical?

    McCain, you should be ashamed for this.

    For those being critical – did you read the report? Did you get the full context and can you think on your own?

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Jim

    I'm a 26-year USAF veteran and nobody owes me an apology except John McCain for picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Prosecute, prosecute, prosecute....

    all Bush officials must be prosecuted to the full extent of the Obamarama

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Emilio

    I do wish this old flip-flopping liar would go off into the sunset. There is only one McCain out there with any integrity, it's his daughter, Cindi.

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

    Lashing out again McCain..you lost ..get over it. In fact, the GOP now is like the school yard "BULLY" that get his butt kicked and then he lashes out at everyone..good- by GOP. You will go no where with this kind of political compass. America is sick of your "good old boys" taking care of each other at the expense of the working people.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Rick W

    This man was a P.O.W way too long, he needs to be commited
    by his rich wife, she can afford the help he needs.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. u2canfail

    It is a report, not law. Looking at possibilities. McVeigh was a vet, no he did not learn to be a terrorist in the military. Yes, we need to be aware. It seems the bombing in OK wasn't as bad as the one in NYC, to McCain. Then there is the .... religious groups, didn't that guy bombing Atlanta during the Olympics claim .... religion as his reason, the guy in Knoxville, wasn't that religion too? I think a report is fine, they are not suggesting ALL, just, it is possible.
    With the way our VETs have been treated, (medical, no armor problems) Senator McCain, I am surprised it's not a larger percentage. My son is in the military, I saw this as a report, not as he will become a terrorist.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. seebofubar

    Can no one see what this administration is doing? Do you think that this was not a calculated move? Weather you want to see it or not, more and more Americans are becoming not only dis-enchanted with but actually afraid of what this administration has done and will continue to do at an accelerating pace. America is dissapearing. The government has taken control of our banking system, they are in the process of taking control of the auto industry, our president is in favor of killing partially born babies, our military is being weakend and now de-moralized. This report by the DHS was a way to divert attention away from what this diabolical self serving egotist is doing. Wake up and look what's happening before your country disapears.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. R in Maine

    You and Cheney are both right-wing terrorists. Nobody owes either of you an apology.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Joe in Austin

    The apology to veterans should be from McCain for talking tax cuts while they were in Bagdad's streets without armor and Walter Reed Hospital decayed.

    April 21, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. GenTwelve

    The report was announced by the Obama anministration in a classless partisan manner, to stir the pot and create division. Also, I'm wondering if Senator McCain believes that Timothy McVie was a patriotic war vet? These politicans (left vs. righ, Democrat vs Republican) are all a bunch of children that crapped their diapers and cry and shout waiting for us to clean them up!

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Gary

    "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."

    This is a great example of the uneducated boobs that vote for every liberal running loose. If this is the future of our education in America, we are in serious jeopardy!

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Diane M of Los Angeles, CA

    EXCUSE ME, BUT Timonty McVie (sp) was a veteran. A large portion of Hell's Angels & KKK members are veterans. Oceanside, CA home of US Veterans, is very conservative, with a few right-extremist.

    SHUT-UP McCain! You're disconnected from reality.

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Michael


    Tell that to the families of the victims of Timothy McVeigh.

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Sam I Am

    Jimmy Boy, Obama should be honored. You are comparing two months of his work to eight years of Bush's. Where were you when Bush repeatedly violated the laws of this country and the world? Where were you when Bush spent ten billion dollars a month on the Iraq war, never putting it in the budget. Where were you when Bush let his wealthy buddies financially rape our economy, bringing us to the edge of a depression. Where were you when....ah..never mind.....

    McCain once again is demanding an apology for something that needs no apology. The report was written by a party-free beaurocracy, guided by one of Bush's appointments. It simply states a fact. Give us a break, John. You tried this crap during the election, and it got you nothing. You are obviously a very slow learner.

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Cheese

    I think your party (The GOP) needs to apologize to John Kerry first. He actually fought in that horrible war, and what did he have to show for it? Stupid swift-boats.

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Gary

    wow .. the right-wing is flying high on this one ... Obama won silly people ... get on with your lives .. you do have those don't you? .. uhh don't you? ..

    April 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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