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McCain Calls Anti-Kissinger Protesters 'Low Life Scum'

Protesters interrupt the start of a Senate Armed Services hearing, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, as they shout at former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, center. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Protesters interrupt the start of a Senate Armed Services hearing, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, as they shout at former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, center. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Code Pink activists protesting the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a hearing Thursday to "get out of here you low-life scum."

Members of the anti-war group, a constant presence at Capitol Hill events, held up signs and chanted "arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes" as the 91-year-old Kissinger entered the hearing room to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by McCain on "global challenges" facing the U.S.

Kissinger, whose right arm was in a sling from a recent shoulder injury, took his seat with his back to the protesters and appeared unphased although McCain said later in a statement that Kissinger may have been "physically threatened" by the demonstration.

At one point, 94-year-old former Secretary of State George Shultz, who also testified at the hearing, got up to face the protesters and waved his hand at them in dismissal.

Kissinger was White House National Security Adviser and then Secretary of State under former President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War. He was also Secretary of State under former President Gerald Ford.

One of the protesters shouted that they were acting "in the name of the people of Vietnam" and other nations affected by policies advocated by Kissinger.

As the protesters were escorted out, one of them returned to retrieve a coat. McCain then said: "Get out of here you low-life scum."

In a statement later, McCain said the incident "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."  McCain said.

McCain apologized to Kissinger and said no witness at a Congressional hearing "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.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com

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