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McCain: Candidates Picking Moderators ‘Destruction of the Free Press’


Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said that allowing someone to pick a debate moderator is “the destruction of free press as we know it” and that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is “using a veterans event as a way to further his own political agenda” on Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room.”

McCain said, “I think first of all, that anyone who is running for office and gets to pick who the moderator is, that’s the destruction of free press as we know it. And second of all, I think that part of it is to blame in the media, they’ve basically given him a free pass. He calls in on the Sunday talk shows. He decides which programs he’s on and which he isn’t. He’s now — makes all these — he’s able to fill the room and take all the oxygen out of it at the same time. And so the media, I think, in their desperation to have him on all the time to increase ratings has probably given him the confidence that he can decide to do — have a ‘veterans event.’ By I wish he were not using a veterans event as a way to further his own political agenda.”

McCain further stated, “I believe that Megyn Kelly is an outstanding journalist. But whether she is or not, that a candidate can decide who the questioners are would be a breakdown, obviously, as you would know, of the system as we know it. The integrity of the — of all journalists would be compromised if this kind of action is allowed.”

He added, “I believe at some point, the American voters and Republican voters are going to look at the result of many of the things that Mr. Trump has said. For example, if you’re going to deport 11 million people, shouldn’t we know how that happens? If you’re going to make the Mexican government pay for it, how does that happen? All these pronouncements, and then there’s no follow-up from the media. He just says, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll get it done.’ That’s not a satisfactory answer. I think Republican voters and all voters deserve specific answers to commitments that Mr. Trump has been making. And I don’t think that’s an outrageous kind of demand.”

McCain was also asked if he thinks Republican candidate Texas Senator Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen. He answered, “Yes, I do, but I — just like I knew that i was a natural-born citizen as well, and it was investigated in my case. Just as my medical records were investigated. So, it’s — I mean, it’s worth — of course you have to look into these things. For no other reason, to make sure that it’s not challenged successfully once you get too far down the path. But I certainly assume that he is a natural-born citizen.”

(h/t Mediaite)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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