Shep Smith Confronts John McCain Over His Rand Paul Criticism, Drones in Tense Interview

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2013, as he leaves a GOP policy meeting. McCain was one of a small group of Republican senators who had dinner with President Barack Obama Wednesday night to address political gridlock. Credit: AP

During Fox News’ “Studio B” Friday, Shepard Smith confronted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over a number of issues, including his sharp criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), his stance on drone strikes and the future of the GOP.

McCain repeated his criticism of Paul’s filibuster, which intended to shed light on the potential for drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil.

Smith first recapped viewers and showed video of McCain and his colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) mocking and criticizing Paul’s filibuster. McCain, reading from an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, called it a “stunt” meant only to “fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”

“No one is going to be struck by a Hellfire missile from a drone that is not an enemy combatant,” McCain said. “That is a fact.”

Instead, McCain said Congress should be focusing on real issues like the massacre in Syria and North Korea’s nuclear capability. He added that the U.S. should not be debating “the impossible scenario.”

Watch the tense interview via Fox News below:

There is a chance that McCain did not watch all of Paul’s filibuster, as the the Kentucky senator repeatedly made it clear that he doesn’t believe the government would actually drop a missile on an American citizen. Instead, he said he wanted assurance from the White House that the executive branch does not have that kind of power under the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican senator did admit that there should be more transparency and oversight on the federal government’s drone program, but again stressed that the government would never drop Hellfire missiles on Americans inside the United States.

On the future of the GOP, McCain said it is he, not Paul, that represents the “party of Ronald Reagan.” He also refuted Smith’s assertion that he is an “interventionist.”

I’m of the party of Ronald Reagan and there’s been a debate in our party for years and years about whether we should withdraw to fortress America or not,” he said. “But to say we’re interventionists is a mislabeling and absolutely false.”