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Fox Business guest insults John McCain while defending 'torture' techniques

Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney made a debunked claim on Fox News Business against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his experience in the Vietnam War. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot composite)

Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (retired) appeared to mock Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during his guest appearance on Fox Business Network Thursday.

Here's what he said

The former Air Force vice assistant chief of staff and former Fox Business analyst slid into his comments an insult against McCain that has been debunked by several news outlets. He was speaking to Fox News Business host Charles Payne about McCain's decision to oppose Trump's nominee, Gina Haspel, for the directorship of the CIA.

"Senator John McCain," Payne said. "he's not going to endorse Haspel also in part because she believes in torture, that she thinks it works, even though she laid out at least three instances where it did work to the benefit of humankind, not just Americans, but all human beings."

"Should they be evaluating this nominee on her feelings," he asked, "or based strictly on the facts and her commitment not to use it anymore because it's no longer legal for us?"

"Well she can't use it anymore because we have determined in Congress that it's not legal," McInerney said. "The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That's why they call him 'Songbird John.'"

"The fact is those methods can work, and they are effective," he continued, "as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to."

'A very false and derogatory remark'

Later, Payne apologized for the smear, saying he regretted that it happened.

“This morning on a show I was hosting, a guest made a very false and derogatory remark about Senator John McCain," he tweeted. "At the time, I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment, and did not hear the comment."

"I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged," he added in a second tweet. "As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”

Here's the video of the controversial comments:

'John McCain did nothing dishonorable'

The "songbird" smear has been widely debunked with no evidence provided to substantiate the claim that McCain betrayed information to his captors.

"John McCain never collaborated with the enemy," said a fellow prisoner of war who shared a cell with McCain. "He, like every one of us, submitted to severe torture. John McCain did nothing dishonorable. He was heroic."

[Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect McInerney's position as a former Fox Business analyst, and a guest. We regret the error.]
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