A Brief History of John McCain Loudly Reprimanding People for Endorsing the Same Thing He Endorsed

With McCain’s previous support for the Bergdahl exchange established, Friday seemed like the right time to take a look back in time.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), shown talking last week to reporters, on Sunday outlined several concerns about a deal reached by Iran and six other governments to address the Middle Eastern nation's disputed nuclear activities.
National Journal
Lucia Graves
June 6, 2014, 12:27 p.m.

John Mc­Cain’s spokes­man will not be pleased with this head­line. That’s be­cause ever since it was re­por­ted that Mc­Cain en­dorsed the re­lease of pris­on­ers in ex­change for Sgt. Bowe Ber­g­dahl sev­er­al months ago, his aides have been push­ing back vo­ci­fer­ously, ar­guing the sen­at­or left him­self an out when, after en­dors­ing a swap back in Feb­ru­ary, he ad­ded that his sup­port would be de­pend­ent on the de­tails.

The trouble is, the de­tails were largely known at the time, and, as a guy sit­ting on the rel­ev­ant com­mit­tees (in this case, the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices and For­eign Re­la­tions com­mit­tees), Mc­Cain should have had the in­form­a­tion he needed to make the call. This morn­ing, The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Glenn Kessler put the is­sue to bed, say­ing Mc­Cain’s push­back doesn’t pass The Post‘s Pinoc­chio test.

Which is to say, he flipped. You can watch his ori­gin­al state­ment in the video be­low.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 5013) }}

With Mc­Cain’s pre­vi­ous en­dorse­ment of the Ber­g­dahl ex­change es­tab­lished, Fri­day seemed like the right time to take a look back at all the times he’s lashed out at oth­ers for en­dors­ing what he en­dorsed as re­cently as Feb­ru­ary. To wit:

On Tues­day, fol­low­ing the week­end re­lease of the five Guantanamo de­tain­ees, Mc­Cain skewered Army Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his “un­ac­cept­able con­duct.”

The pris­on­er swap was “shame­ful,” Mc­Cain said, adding that De­mp­sey “wants to take ac­tion that will clearly put the lives of the men and wo­men of which he is the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in jeop­ardy.”

On Wed­nes­day, Pentagon spokes­man Rear Adm. John Kirby said that “when you’re in the Navy, and you go over­board, it doesn’t mat­ter if you were pushed, fell, or jumped. We’re go­ing to turn the ship around and pick you up.” Mc­Cain then had a rather ag­gress­ive re­sponse for someone who’d only re­cently made a sim­il­ar point.

Mc­Cain dis­missed Kirby’s “ba­lo­ney story” to a scrum of re­port­ers, in­clud­ing Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Elahe Iz­adi. “Not if that ship is in battle. Not if that ship would be taken in­to a mine­field. They don’t un­der­stand. It’s just out­rageous.”

The Huff­ing­ton Post re­por­ted that Mc­Cain was among sev­er­al sen­at­ors to leave a clas­si­fied brief­ing on Ber­g­dahl on Wed­nes­day, with Mc­Cain stay­ing just long enough to ask a ques­tion. He walked out “shout­ing at an of­fi­cial over an un­sat­is­fact­ory an­swer, ac­cord­ing to a Sen­ate aide fa­mil­i­ar with the pro­cess,” later telling re­port­ers, “I learned noth­ing.”

Top Re­pub­lic­an law­makers, in­clud­ing Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Saxby Cham­b­liss, in­sist they haven’t been con­sul­ted with on the is­sue in years. And Mc­Cain spokes­man Bri­an Ro­gers on Fri­day pushed back against the en­tire premise of this story. “It’s not just about who the Taliban are but the fact that un­der the terms and de­tails of this swap these guys are able to re­turn to the fight in Afgh­anistan against Amer­ic­an troops next year,” he said, cit­ing a re­cent story in NBC News. “The price is just too high.”

It’s true that Mc­Cain said his sup­port was de­pend­ent on the de­tails, and has since deemed the de­tails to be “ter­rible!” Still, the nar­rat­ive doesn’t sit well.

It would be one thing if Mc­Cain were an im­par­tial ob­serv­er in the Sen­ate, but as a former pris­on­er of war him­self, and a lead­ing Re­pub­lic­an voice on for­eign policy, his words carry con­sid­er­able weight. He might want to choose them bet­ter.

Elahe Izadi contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
‘SPOOKED’ IN NORTH DAKOTA
Cruz Delegates Having Second Thoughts?
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."

Source:
MORE PRESSURE ON CONGRESS TO ACT
Puerto Rico to Default on Payment Today
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The confrontation between debt-swamped Puerto Rico and its creditors is intensifying as the U.S. territory will default on payments due Monday, deepening the island's financial crisis and placing additional pressure on Congress to intervene." The amount of the default is estimated at $422 million.

Source:
A RARE KIND OF REBUKE
Leading Republicans Would Say ‘No Thanks’ If Asked to Be Trump’s VP
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."

Source:
NEW WSJ/NBC/MARIST POLL
Trump Decisively Ahead in Indiana
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."

Source:
×