Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday kicked out anti-war protesters from his Armed Services Committee hearing, calling them “low-life scum” as police escorted them away.
“Get out of here you low-life scum,” McCain said, earning applause from others in the room.
The mayhem started as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was being escorted into the hearing room to discuss global challenges and U.S. national security strategy. Kissinger, who served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, was met by protesters as he sat down.
“Arrest Henry Kissenger for war crimes!” they chanted.
Police arrived after more than a minute to clear the room of protesters, and McCain apologized to the audience.
“I’d like to say to my colleagues, and to our distinguished witnesses this morning, that I’ve been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful, and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place,” he said.
When McCain was interrupted by another protester, he shot back, “You know, you’re going to have to shut up or I’m going to have you arrested.” Then he delivered the line he’ll likely be remembered for decades from now:
“Get out of here you low-life scum.”
“I’d like to apologize for allowing such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction,” he added. “I apologize profusely.”
Late Thursday afternoon, McCain said on Fox News that he would call for a full investigation of why there were so few police around to handle the issue, which allowed protestors to get very close to Kissinger. McCain also said he had no regrets about calling the protestors “low-life scum” because “they are that.”