One day after military analyst and ex-general Thomas McInerney mocked fellow Vietnam War veteran John McCain as “Songbird John” in a Fox Business Network interview, daughter Meghan McCain made it clear which man would be remembered in the history books.
Meghan McCain appeared on The View Friday morning, just one day after McInerney made the comment while speaking to host Charles Payne on the show about Gina Haspel’s controversial nomination for CIA director.
The View‘s Sunny Hostin called the comments “horrible” and said, “To hear that from a service member … I say, shame on you.”
The slur against McCain, a Vietnam war veteran who was held prisoner and tortured by the North Vietnamese for more than five years, comes from opponents who accuse him of traitorously giving up information to his captors during the war. But an analysis by Politifact years ago judged that allegation to be false, with “no evidence” to back it up.
“It’s a really ugly nickname … it was a hard day yesterday,” Meghan said.
But, she added, “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.”
McCain has said he opposes Haspel’s nomination because of her failure to denounce torture as immoral. McInerney argued on Thursday that torture is a valid form of interrogation because the method “worked” on McCain himself when he was a prisoner of war.
“The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John,” McInerney said. “That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’ “
Payne later issued an apology on Twitter, saying he should have challenged the comments.
“My Apology to Senator McCain and his Family,” Payne posted on Twitter. ” ‘This morning on a show I was hosting, a guest made a very false and derogatory remark about Senator John McCain. At the time, I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment, and did not hear the comment.’ “
I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged. 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.’ “
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A network spokesperson also tells PEOPLE in a statement that McInerney will not appear as a guest on FOX Business Network or FOX News Channel in the future.
McInerney’s comments came shortly after it was reported that a Trump administration official had mocked McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis during a closed-door meeting at the White House on Thursday.
White House special assistant Kelly Sadler reportedly said of McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
McCain also criticized Sadler on The View Friday, saying, “The thing that surprises me most is, I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in where that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job.”