McCain Obstinate In Defense Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Ignores Testimony Before His Committee
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) seemed like he was about to lose his temper during a press briefing Tuesday after Republicans filibustered the defense appropriations bill over a measure that would have repealed the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) held a briefing in the Senate press gallery immediately following the vote. McCain grew increasingly obstinate when pressed on the military's history of actively seeking out gay troops to be dismissed under the policy.
Of course, as ThinkProgress notes, the Senate Armed Services Committee -- on which McCain serves as the ranking Republican -- heard testimony just this past March from servicemembers who said their sexual orientation was actively investigated, including by searches of their private emails.
A transcript of McCain's confrontation with the press appears below:
MCCAIN: We do not go out and seek. Regulations are, we do not go out and seek to find out if someone's sexual orientation. We do not!
ADVOCATE REPORTER KERRY ELEVELD: But senator, that's not...
MCCAIN: That is the fact! That is the fact. Now ma'am, I know the military very well, and I know what's being done. And what is being done is that they are not seeking out people who are gay. And I don't care what you say, I know it's a fact.
ELEVELD: It's not what I say.
MCCAIN: I dont' care what you say! And I don't care what others say. I've seen it in action. I've seen it in action. I have sons in the military, I know the military very well. So they're not telling you the truth.
ELEVELD: Senator, just to make sure...
MCCAIN: Just to make sure. We do not go out and seek out and find out....
ELEVELD: Private emails are not being searched? Private emails are not being searched?
MCCAIN: ...See if someone is gay or not. We do not go out and see whether someone is gay or not.
ELEVELD: There are documented cases...
MCCAIN: They do not, they do not, they do not. You can say that they are, you can say [inaudible] it's not true!... Yea, I'd like to see...
GEIDNER: It is the case of Mike Almy, Senators.
MCCAIN: Bring them to our office. It is not the policy, it is not the policy, it is not the policy.
GEIDNER: But it is the case that it's happening, Senator.
MCCAIN: It is not the policy, it is not the policy, it is not the policy You can say that it is the policy, sir if you choose to. It is not the policy. I would be glad to get that to you in writing.