Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn McCainTrump nominees dodge 'climate denier' charge Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Trump fails to mention Clinton in inaugural address MORE (R-Ariz.) is mocking Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (R-Texas) for claiming he is “pressing” for hearings on allowing U.S. troops to carry private firearms on military installations.
“Maybe it was through some medium that I’m not familiar with. Maybe bouncing it off the ozone layer, for all I know,” McCain joked. “There’s a lot of holes in the ozone layer, so maybe it wasn’t the ozone layer that he bounced it off of. Maybe it was through hand telegraph, maybe sign language. Who knows?”
Cruz's office issued a statement maintaining that the Texas Republican is not new to the issue.
"Senator Cruz has been discussing this issue for a long time and he looks forward to continuing to raise it in the Senate Armed Services Committee where he serves with Chairman McCain," according to the statement.
Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, made the most recent comments on Sunday while speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire, according to Politico.
“I am very concerned about that policy,” Cruz said. “I think it’s very important to have a public discussion about why we’re denying our soldiers the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
In recent years, GOP lawmakers, including fellow Texan, Rep. Louie GohmertLouie GohmertGohmert: Dems should be grateful they aren’t being punished for sit-in Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote GOP rep: Obama 'exactly wrong on everything' MORE, have pushed for the Defense Department to ease its ban on private firearms, citing mass shootings, such as the two that have occurred at Fort Hood in Texas. They contend such tragedies could have been avoided had soldiers been allowed to be armed.
Last week Gohmert urged the House Armed Services Committee to include a provision in its version of the annual defense policy bill to lift the ban.
A laughing McCain, who earlier on Monday chided Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), another Republican presidential contender, over his understanding of foreign policy, said reporters should follow up with Cruz on how he sought hearings on the controversial issue.
“Ask him how he communicated with me because I’d be very interested. Who knows what I’m missing?” the Arizona Republican said.
— This story was updated on Tuesday at 9:16 a.m.