Washington (CNN)Sen. John McCain says the Code Pink protesters he called "low-life scum" at a hearing last week deserved it.
McCain defends 'low-life scum' remark
The Arizona Republican made the remark after protesters rushed a Senate Armed Services Committee witness table where 91-year-old Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, was testifying. McCain, the committee's chairman, ordered them escorted from the room by Capitol police.
He said the protesters -- one of whom held handcuffs above Kissinger's head -- put him "in danger of being harmed."
"These people were physically threatening Henry Kissinger," McCain told CNN's Dana Bash Sunday on "State of the Union" as he defended his comments.
"I'm used to people popping up at these hearings and yelling, and then they're escorted out -- that's at least some version of free speech," he said. "These people rushed up. They were right next to Henry Kissinger, waving handcuffs at him. He's a 91-year-old man with a broken shoulder who was willing to come down and testify before Congress, to give us the benefit of his many years of wisdom. Of course I was outraged, and I'm still outraged."