WATCH: Protesters get within inches of Kissinger on Capitol Hill
John McCain kicks out demonstrators, calling them 'lowlife scum,' expresses concern over handling of incident.By The Associated Press | Jan. 31, 2015 | 3:20 AM
S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain kicked protesters out of a committee hearing Thursday, calling them “lowlife scum” as they hollered for the arrest of one of the witnesses, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Shortly after Kissinger, 91, took a seat at the witness table, several protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink approached from behind, waving signs and a pair of handcuffs and chanting, “Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes.”
“You know, you’re going to have to shut up or I’m going to have you arrested,” McCain said from the podium, calling for U.S. capitol police to remove them. As officers escorted the protesters out of the hearing room, the unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential candidate, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, growled, “Get out of here, you lowlife scum.”
U.S. capitol police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said three people were removed from the room, but no arrests were made.
In a statement later, McCain noted a gap between the beginning of the protest and the arrival of officers.
“With no U.S. capitol police intervening, the episode went on for several minutes,” McCain said. He added that he had spoken with police officials and expects that “those responsible will be held fully accountable for their actions”.
The upheaval came Thursday during a committee hearing that also featured testimony from former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and George P. Shultz, who were sitting at the witness table with Kissinger.
At one point, a protester alleged that from 1969 to 1973, Kissinger, who was a national security adviser to President Richard Nixon before being named secretary of state, “oversaw” the deaths of millions of people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The protester said many thousands more people died from the effects of the defoliant Agent Orange, or from unexploded U.S. ordnance littering the countryside.
Protesters interrupting a Senate Armed Services hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 29, 2015, shouting at Henry Kissinger, center, joined by George Shultz and Madeleine Albright. Photo by AP