On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain took on fellow Republicans, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who say he’s wrong to criticize fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s recent dramatic speaking filibuster.
“Well, you know, I am always intrigued by the fact that when I disagree with my own party leadership, my own president — like saying that Donald Rumsfeld ought to resign, [or] we need to do the surge — then I’m a brave maverick,” McCain said. “When I’m taking on others, then he’s just an angry old man.”
McCain said he thought Paul’s concerns missed larger issues of national security. (RELATED AUDIO — Rand Paul: McCain on the “wrong side of history”)
“Look, I’ll always do what I think is right,” McCain said. “I think I understand national security. I have been involved in it in one way or another since I was 17, and I believe that the priorities that we were just talking about are the ones we should be spending 13 hours on. Why isn’t the United States of America helping the Syrians who are being massacred as we speak, and the million — now over a million refugees? What are we going to do about the North Koreans who are now basically threatening to strike the United States of America?”
“What are we going to do about the centrifuges in Tehran?” he continued. “Instead, we spend 13 hours warning the American people that we may put a Hellfire missile on an innocent American in a cafe. That was never the case. But there may be an extraordinary circumstance where there’s an impending attack on the United States of America that we would have to respond in any way possible to prevent another 9/11. I believe that’s what the attorney general of the United States was trying to say.”
McCain said he expects his friendship with Gingrich to continue. (RELATED VIDEO — James Carville: Rand Paul’s concerns are ”cockamamie conspiracy theories”)
“Oh, listen, Newt and I have been friends for many, many years,” he added. “I respect his opinions. He’s a very bright guy. I’m not going to — we’ll remain friends.”