John McCain dismissed fear-mongering about Syrian refugees as both “bizarre” and “clearly unpresidential” during an interview with The Daily Beast on Friday evening.
Reached by phone in New Hampshire where he is campaigning for his friend Lindsey Graham, a Republican presidential candidate, McCain expressed frustration with candidates who he claims don’t understand foreign policy well enough to know that refugees are not the problem, but “the result of the problem.”
Asked about how other Republican candidates have responded to the Paris terror attacks—in particular Donald Trump promoting a registry of Muslim citizens, Ben Carson comparing refugees to “rabid dogs,” and Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush saying the U.S. should only help Christian refugees, McCain said: “I think they’re diverting attention from their total lack of knowledge and expertise as to how to address this challenge. Second of all, I think it’s offensive. There’s 3,500 men and women serving in the military that are Muslim. Does that mean they’re gonna have to leave where they’re serving overseas, some of them in combat, to register somewhere? That’s really something that I find bizarre and clearly unpresidential.”
McCain did, however, say he agrees with Graham on having a “time out” on admitting Syrian refugees.