Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain had harsh words for protesters who shouted criticism at 91-year-old Henry Kissinger at a hearing Thursday.
“Get out of here, you low-life scum,” the Arizona Republican told the protesters.
Kissinger, the diplomat who was secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, as well as President Ronald Reagan secretary of state George Shultz and Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, were on hand for a hearing on global security challenges.
As the hearing started, several protesters approached the table where Kissinger was seated, holding signs and shouting at him.
“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,” McCain said.
“You know, you’re going to have to shut up or I’m going have you arrested,” he said, summoning Capitol Hill police.
And then, to a smattering of applause, McCain added: “Get out of here you low-life scum.”
Later in the hearing, Kissinger was interrupted by two female protesters who held signs and had painted their palms red. They stood up and shouted that Kissinger “oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which led to the deaths of millions of people.”
The two were escorted from the room, too. And Shultz drew applause when he stood and said, “I salute Dr. Henry Kissinger.”
McCain stood by his comments on Thursday night when asked by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto if he had any regrets about the incident.
“No, because they are that,” McCain said of calling the protesters “scum.”
“Anybody who would do that kind of behavior is guilty of it. It was terribly upsetting to me,” he said.
Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.