Late Senator McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain seemed to be struggling to get through an awkward interview with Seth Meyers on NBC, as the conversation revolved mainly on McCain’s past comments about Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
McCain drew criticism after appearing on the This Week program with George Stephanopoulos just one day after the April 27 Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego. She brought up Omar’s criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. when discussing the synagogue attack, Newsweek reported.
“When we’re having conversations about anti-Semitism, we should be looking at the most extreme on both sides,” McCain said on This Week. “I would bring up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention, and in my opinion Nancy Pelosi wasn’t harsh enough on her for trafficking in anti-Semitic language, talking about ‘All about the Benjamins’ and how Jewish people had ‘hypnotized’ the world.”
On Tuesday, Meyers put it to McCain that linking criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in America to anti-Semitic violence was irresponsible, Mediaite reported. “I do think it’s fairly dangerous, and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had also had some death threats against her,” he said.
Republicans and some Democrats were quick to denounce Omar’s comments, which prompted a resolution in the House condemning anti-Semitism and other offensive speech. But some top Democrats—including 2020 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren—rallied around the Minnesota representative, warning that criticism of the state of Israel must not be conflated with anti-Semitism.
Meyers continued, “She’s obviously now stated she needs to be more careful with her language. Don’t you think people who talk about her need to be a little bit more thoughtful as well? Or do you stand by those comments of tying her rhetoric to the synagogue shooting?”
McCain responded, “I don’t think I tied her to it in particular,” though she explicitly mentioned Omar in her comments. “I think that I’m calling out what I see as anti-Semitic language.”
But Meyers pointed out that McCain criticized Omar only after the Democrat had apologized. “I do want to establish the timeline,” he explained.
McCain struggled to give a coherent reply, telling Meyers, “I think the Democrats are hedging on this, and I think it’s very dangerous, and I think Chuck Schumer and I are in alignment about Israel’s stance in geopolitical politics. I think it’s of the utmost importance—and I think she is bringing her party to the extreme…to the extremism on this. I stand by every single thing I’ve said, and if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it.”