On the Fox show Studio B this Friday, Shepard Smith grilled Senator John McCain on his apparent disdain for Senator Rand Paul‘s filibustering on Wednesday in regards to the executive branch’s authority to target American citizens on U.S. soil. Towards the end of the interview, McCain got a little testy when Smith suggested that he is an “interventionist” when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.
In the wake of Paul’s nearly 13-hour long filibuster, McCain referred to it as a “stunt” only meant to “fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”
Smith asked McCain what there was to dislike about Paul’s actions, to which McCain responded that the idea of a “Hellfire missile” striking an American citizen on U.S. soil was ridiculous.
“No one is going to be struck by a Hellfire missile, from a drone, that is not an enemy combatant,” McCain asserted. “That’s just a fact. By the way, the reason why we use Hellfire missiles overseas in places like Yemen, we don’t have the ability to capture them. We want to capture these people, not kill them.”
Interestingly, McCain’s response seems to miss the point of Paul’s filibuster. The senator made clear, multiple times, that he does not believe the U.S. government will actually drop a missile on an American sitting in some open-air coffee house. Paul’s intent was to get the White House to confirm that they do not claim the authority to do so.
As the interview went on, McCain grew increasingly agitated with Smith’s questioning, with one particular question setting off the Senator, where Smith asserted that McCain’s objections to Paul represented a “battle for the heart and soul of the party.”
“The long-held Republican and conservative view on war is to avoid it at all costs. That sort of a voice has had a difficult time.” Smith said. “The Rand Paul wing, if you will, has had a difficult time having its voice heard. You and others have been interventionists. Let’s intervene in Syria, intervene in Libya, let’s ‘bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.’”
“Do you really believe that?” McCain asked incredulously, chiding Smith for referring to a “joke” he made during a townhall discussion.
When asked whether the GOP’s changing narrative on foreign policy matters is a “good thing,” McCain replied that he’s from the “party of Reagan,” explaining that “there’s always been that [anti-war] element [within the GOP] but the winning part of our party is that which believes, like Ronald Reagan did, and that is peace through strength and that’s the best way to avoid conflicts.”
Watch the Fox News segment in the video below.