POLITICS
01/29/2015 11:59 am ET Updated Jan 29, 2015

John McCain Slams Anti-Henry Kissinger Protester As 'Low-Life Scum'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called out a protester rallying against former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at an Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, calling him "low-life scum."

"Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes!" the protesters chanted while holding up signs.

As the chanting went on, McCain could be heard summoning U.S. Capitol Police. In later remarks, he called the protest "disgraceful, and outrageous, and despicable."

"You're going to have to shut up, or I'm going to have you arrested," McCain said as a protester interrupted his remarks.

"Get out of here, you low-life scum," McCain added as the protester was removed from the room.

McCain then apologized to Kissinger, who testified about global challenges to national security at the hearing.

Watch McCain slam the protesters above.

UPDATE: McCain released the following statement on the incident Thursday afternoon:

The incident at today’s Senate Armed Services Committee in which individuals associated with the liberal group Code Pink physically threatened former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger was completely unacceptable, and those responsible must be held fully accountable for their actions. In my 32 years in the House and Senate, I have never witnessed this kind of physical intimidation of a witness at a Congressional hearing.

No American citizen testifying before the U.S. Congress should be subjected to such treatment, particularly not a 91-year-old former Secretary of State who has served our nation with great honor and distinction.

Code Pink’s typical protest tactics include interrupting Congressional hearings with chanting and sign-holding, which while disruptive and improper, do not represent a threat to witnesses. What happened today was far different. As Dr. Kissinger entered the hearing room to take his seat, a group of Code Pink protesters rushed up to the witness table to confront him, waving handcuffs within inches of his head. Some senators were concerned enough for Dr. Kissinger’s safety that they came down off the dais to support the witnesses. With no U.S. Capitol Police intervening, the episode went on for several minutes.

I apologize once again to Dr. Kissinger on behalf of the Armed Services Committee and the entire U.S. Senate for this deeply troubling incident. I have spoken to the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and the U.S. Capitol Police, and expect that those responsible will be held fully accountable for their actions.

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