John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, was on The View Friday and had a rebuttal for ex-general Thomas McInerney for saying that McCain was a “Songbird John” when discussing Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the next CIA director. The term that McInerney used is derogatory, and refers to McCain’s prior experience as a prisoner of war when he was captured by the North Vietnamese and tortured. During his five years of imprisonment, some allege that McCain revealed sensitive information to the Vietnamese, hence the nickname “Songbird John.” There has been no evidence given to back these claims.
McInerney is also a Vietnam War veteran and made his remark during an interview on Fox. He was discussing how he approves of torture, especially when it can be used to save millions of American lives. McInerney was then asked about his opinion on McCain opposing Haspel’s nomination because Haspel believes in torture and thinks that it works. In response, McInerney said that “The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'” He followed up and said that torture does work, according to People.
For Meghan, the name calling is rude but irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.
“My father’s legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years. These people? Nothingburgers. Nobody’s going to remember you.”
Additionally, the host of the show, Charles Payne, apologized on Twitter for not hearing McInerney call McCain a “Songbird John” because he was listening to the control room telling him to wrap it up. He added that “As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”
Meghan McCain on Kelly Sadler’s comments about her father: "I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable and then you could come to work the next day and still have a job." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/WpiMGPlYUw
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 11, 2018
Additionally, due to his derogatory remark, McInerney is reportedly suspended from further appearances on the network as a guest.
This is the second instance in which someone has publicly degraded McCain. White House special assistant Kelly Sadler allegedly said that McCain refusing to endorse Haspel’s nomination “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
Meghan also questioned on The View why Sadler’s been allowed to keep her job after making such remarks.
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) May 10, 2018
McInerney has also been targeted by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who said that “First of all, no one calls him ‘Songbird John’ except for crazy people and jerks,” reported MSN News.
The topic of torture is polarizing and controversial. Because Haspel previously supervised waterboarding at a secret CIA detention center, some believe she should not become the next CIA director. Haspel on Wednesday promised never to restart the torture program if she became the director, but she didn’t want to say that it was “immoral,” leading to continued criticism of her nomination.