Following Senator Rand Paul’s impromptu 12-plus hour filibuster of the White House’s closely-guarded drone program, Republican Senator John McCain (and Sen. Lindsay Graham [S.C.]) spent Thursday morning rebuking the Kentucky senator.
“If Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts than fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” Sen. McCain said, quoting a recent Wall Street Journal editorial.
The Arizona senator added that Sen. Paul did a “disservice to a lot of Americans by making them believe that somehow they’re in danger from their government.”
“They’re not,” he asserted.
Obviously, these are strong words coming from an old-school GOP senator to a freshman like Paul. Imagine how awkward it’d be if the two suddenly came face-to-face right after the Arizona senator said all that.
Oh. Wait. They did:
The above was taken by New York Times photographer Stephen Crowley right after Sen. McCain said the following on the floor of the Senate Thursday morning:
Talk about uncomfortable.
And it doesn’t appear that Sen. McCain is going to back down from his criticism of Sen. Paul anytime soon. In fact, the rhetoric from his camp has become increasingly hostile.
“[Senator McCain] is doing what he thinks is right. Unlike many of these guys, he’s actually been involved in a few national security debates over the years. He knows that jumping on the Rand Paul black helicopters crazytrain isn’t good for our Party or our country, no matter what Twitter says [emphasis added],” one McCain aide told BuzzFeed.
“Senator McCain is obviously well aware of the politics of this,” the aide added, “he just doesn’t care.”
McCain himself escalated the war of words on Thursday by referring to Paul and his allies as “wacko birds,” claiming that they are unrepresentative of the GOP mainstream.
“It’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone,” Sen. McCain said in a Huffington Post article.
“I think it can be harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They’re not,” he added.
For his part, Sen. Paul has responded by saying that Sen. McCain is simply “on the wrong side of history.”
“You know, I think he’s just on the wrong side of history, and on the wrong side of this argument, really,” the Kentucky senator said in an interview with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Friday.
“I treat Sen. McCain with respect. I don’t think I always get the same in return,” he added.
But what’s your take on all of this?
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Featured image courtesy @Stcrow. This post has been updated.