SIMI VALLEY, CA — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is still targeting 2016 Presidential candidate Donald Trump, this time at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.
During the Q&A section of a session on “Defeating ISIS and Dealing with Iran: Managing the Battlefield in Theater and In D.C.” McCain referred to Trump’s announced plan to build a wall at the U.S. southern border with Mexico. Earlier this year the Senator voiced discontent over a Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Crazies,” McCain called a contingent of Arizonans concerned with border security and illegal immigration who attended the July rally for Trump.
“This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me,” McCain told a New Yorker reporter of Trump’s rally. “Because what [Trump] did was he fired up the crazies.”
Members of this weekend’s national security panel included: Hon. Michele Flournoy, Former Undersecretary of Defense (Policy) and CEO of CNAS; Hon. Eric Edelman, Former Undersecretary of Defense (Policy); Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee; McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Moderator Barbara Starr of CNN.
Breitbart News asked the panel about whether its members consider the movement of tens of thousands of migrants and designated refugees from countries with known terrorist contingents to pose a threat to national security in the U.S. The immigration status of each of the Boston Bombers was referenced as an example. One of the brothers had received legal status prior to the attack and the other had been in the process.
Smith suggested that statistics show the majority of terrorism comes from domestic sources.
Breitbart News reported in mid-September, “A review of recent terror activity – provided by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee – confirms the terror threat posed by our federal immigration policy of issuing large numbers of visas to majority-Muslim countries.” The statement was detailed in several instances of foreign nationals receiving legal status in the United States and subsequently committing acts of terrorism.
Breitbart London reported in early September on five Gulf States that have refused to take Syrian refugees on the basis that “they have argued that accepting large numbers of Syrians is a threat to their safety, as terrorists could be hiding within an influx of people.” These wealthy countries have opted rather for providing contributions to support Syrian refugees in other countries albeit estimated at a fraction of what nations such as the United States and the UK have given.
Flournoy warned of creating an anti-immigrant sentiment should such immigrant populations be put under particular scrutiny. A conference attendee later rose to the microphone to say, “There’s no anti-immigrant sentiment here,” then clarifying that this seemed to, at least in part, avoid answering the question of whether the potential of individuals coming from countries with known terrorist organizations was acknowledged as a threat to national security.
McCain chimed in with an inferred reference to Trump’s promise to build a wall on the U.S. southwest border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it.
“Not to worry because we’re gonna build a wall and the Mexicans are gonna pay for it.”
Trump has proposed the border wall as part of securing the country’s borders.
In 2010, facing a primary election challenge from J.D. Hayworth, McCain ran a campaign ad pledging to Arizonans that he would “build the danged fence.” Since his re-election McCain has been formally censured by Arizona Republicans and criticized for his part in the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that would have granted de facto amnesty.
Closing out Saturday’s panel with McCain at the Reagan Library, moderator Barbara Starr of CNN said to McCain, “And now that Senator McCain has brought up the wall, now I get to ask what I really want to ask.”
Referring to McCain’s 2008 run for the White House, Starr asked, “What concerns do you have that they have, both of them, a full understanding of national security and military issues at this time?”
Well frankly I don’t think either have much experience or background, but the issue that bothers me the most, because I believe in the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, is that to say that we’re going to take 11 million people, including children who were born here, which according to the Constitution are citizens, whether you happen to like that provision of our Constitution or not, and that we’re going to deport all them. I believe that anyone whose going to be elected President of the United States has to get a significant portion of the Hispanic vote in this country. That’s the demographic in undeniable numbers.
Starr mentioned that she thinks McCain is the only panelist to have appeared on Saturday Night Live. Referencing Trump’s coming appearance on the show, Starr asked McCain, “Will you be watching and more specifically, what advice do you have for Donald Trump.”
McCain indicated he would be watching a recording of the show. “I’m confident that it will be extremely entertaining because Saturday Night Live is unique and it’s the best in the world.”
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