A group of veterans crashed GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain’s office Wednesday to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state and were subsequently arrested after refusing to leave.
About 10 veterans showed up at McCain’s office Wednesday to try and persuade him not to vote in favor of Rex Tillerson’s confirmation for the position of secretary of state.
“We have a real concern about an oil executive becoming secretary of state,” Matt Howard, a Marine Corps veteran, said according to Business Insider. “We know that this has been an industry and a person that has used the military to subsidize his own ability to make profit.”
The group, organized under the hashtag #vetsrejectrex on Twitter, tried to live stream the event, but were told repeatedly by McCain staffers that this constituted a violation of Senate rules. Otherwise, the demonstration appeared peaceful.
Capitol police soon arrived on the scene and arrested the veterans. According to a McCain spokeswoman, the veterans were arrested after refusing to leave when it was time to close the office down.
“Senator McCain’s staff permitted a group to exercise its right to protest at our office for several hours today, even as they interrupted constituents visiting our office to retrieve their tickets for tomorrow’s Inauguration,” a McCain spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “When the Senator’s office attempted to close for the day, the protesters refused to leave. Capitol Police were simply following normal procedure. Senator McCain appreciates the professionalism of the U.S. Capitol Police and all that they do to protect Senators, staff and visitors to the U.S. Capitol.”
McCain told Fox News Monday that he’s leaning towards voting in favor of Tillerson, but on Wednesday, he told CBS News that Tillerson’s closeness with Russian President Vladimir Putin appears a cause for concern. McCain then said he hadn’t made up his mind one way or another on Tillerson.
Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship in 2013. At the time, Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil.
The Senate Committee on Armed Services is scheduled to meet Monday for a vote on Tilleron’s confirmation.
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