Senator John McCain’s awkward moment came during today’s interview with Bob Schieffer, a veteran newscaster of CBS’ Face the Nation. During the segment, McCain talked about President Obama and his executive action on immigration, the looming Department of Homeland Security shutdown, and, of course, the Ukraine crisis.
The segment started with McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona, criticizing President Obama and the Obama Administration for its lack of “response to ISIS and other extremist groups,” according to Face the Nation. The topic turned to the Ukraine, which was when McCain talked about his “disappointment with America’s lack of response to the Ukraine Crisis.”
Schieffer prefaced McCain’s comments on the Ukraine by saying, “it sounds like things are getting worse there,” and he asked what McCain made of what is happening there — what McCain thought “we need to do now.”
It was during McCain’s response to this question that McCain made history, in a way.
McCain started by swiftly criticizing France’s president and Germany’s chancellor, claiming they “legitimized” the “dismemberment of a country in Europe.” According to Reuters, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in the beginning of February that arming Ukraine would not help them “fight pro-Russian separatists.”
McCain went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been punished enough, that he “has not paid any price.”
Then came McCain’s awkward moment when, according to the Blaze, Senator McCain said the one thing that no newscaster has ever heard out of his mouth before while he stumbled slightly over his words, or so it appears on the video.
According to the transcript from Face the Nation,McCain said as follows.
“I’m ashamed of my country, I’m ashamed of my president, and I’m ashamed of myself that I haven’t done more to help these people. It is really, really, heartbreaking.”
After making this statement, McCain added that all the Ukrainians want are weapons so they can defend themselves because their people are “being slaughtered. And their army is — military is being shattered.”
McCain finished the segment by saying that “it’s a dark day for this alliance,” referring to the long, but tense alliance between the United States and Russia.
Face the Nation host Schieffer was speechless for a moment, but when he found his voice he responded to the awkward moment by saying,
“Well I’ll say this, senator, I’ve known you for a long, long time, interviewed you many, many times. I’ve never heard you say, ‘I’m ashamed of my country,’ which you just said.”
McCain has taken this same stance since the beginning of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as have a number of other senators and congressional representatives.
As far back as March, 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula using what some called slimy tactics during what is now known as the “Crimean Conflict,” according to CNN, McCain has been vocally consistent with his position and messaging about the topic.
According to a statement McCain released on the topic in March, 2014, he said as follows.
“The United States should provide greater support to Ukraine and impose additional costs on Russia.”
He went on to list a number of nonviolent suggestions on how to handle the crisis that he hoped the United States Congress and North American Treaty Organization (NATO) would take under advisement.
Since that time, whenever the Ukraine-Russia conflict is the topic du jour, McCain tends to make the same statements about the U.S., saying that it should “arm Ukraine and sanction Russia” in some way.
Russian President Vladimir Putin disagrees with this. In a press conference last week broadcast on Russia’s TV 1, Putin reiterated that arming the Ukraine will not help resolve the conflict.
The U.S. has yet to send weapons to the Ukrainian fighters, and both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have stayed away from that particular choice — until now.
According to the New York Times, Kerry started considering arming the Ukraine since the beginning of February, which was right before a ceasefire was brokered called “Minsk II.”
Kerry is now accusing the Kremlin of violating that ceasefire, according to Press TV, and he once again began considering arming Ukrainian fighters two days ago, which was well before the awkward moment when McCain declared the shame he felt for the U.S., the president, and himself.
Did McCain say he was ashamed only to get President Obama and Secretary Kerry to arm Ukraine, or does McCain really feel he hasn’t done enough?
[Photo Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Staff]