A group of almost 50 US veterans and their supporters marched to the headquarters of Senator John McCain in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday.
The protesters say McCain has turned his back on ex-US service personnel. Some of them held signs highlighting veteran suicides and homelessness as well as McCain’s alleged support for ISIS
Many of the veterans were calling for a citizen’s arrest of McCain, but Phoenix police were already waiting for the protesters with barricades, thus denying them entry to the senator’s office.
The Free thought project reports: The organizer of the protest, Pete Santilli, said McCain should be convicted for treasonous behavior. Accusations levied against the senator included support of the Islamic State terror group, and complicity in assisting in the cover-up, by hiding evidence, of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.
“I want him in handcuffs,” Santilli told the Arizona Republic. “He needs to be held for his account.”
Another impetus for the rally is McCain’s perceived “abandonment” of veterans who have fallen through the cracks becoming homeless. A common refrain heard at the protest was that the senator has failed in his obligation to veterans, with many labeling him a “criminal.”
“I believe Phoenix is ground zero for veterans’ issues, veterans’ homelessness and the failure of the Veterans Administration in taking care of our veterans. That happens to fall in John McCain’s jurisdiction,” Santilli said.
Of course Sen. McCain takes issue with this characterization, preferring to cast himself as a champion of veterans issues. Recently, he has heavily inserted himself into the investigations of the extreme failings of Veterans Affairs hospitals. Many perceive these recent actions as simple political theater, meant to save face after failing the veterans by not being a steward of their cause until the VA hospital scandal became a PR nightmare.
The protest seemingly struck a nerve with the McCain camp, as Brian Rogers, a McCain spokesman, released a statement Saturday afternoon. In the statement, they attempted to divert from the issues being raised by personally attacking the organizer and trying to label him a conspiracy theorist:
“The individual leading this ‘protest,’ Pete Santilli, is a conspiracy theorist who believes that high-tech energy beams from outer space took down the Twin Towers on 9/11 and that President George H.W. Bush helped orchestrate the Kennedy assassination, among many other bizarre theories.
“Senator McCain is very proud of his long record of fighting for Arizona’s veterans, including coauthoring the recent VA reform bill to give veterans more choice in their health care, and his involvement in successful efforts in to address the problem of homeless veterans in our state.”