Protesters to McCain: Thanks for the free media attention

Protesters that Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLessons of the Kamala Harris campaign Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases Top Armed Services Democrat scolds military leaders on Trump's intervention in war crimes cases MORE (R-Ariz.) called “low-life scum” during a hearing on Capitol Hill this week are thanking him for drawing media attention to their cause. 

“We actually think it was good for us because what would've been a demonstration that probably would have gotten no attention, like many of the demonstrations that we do, has become a much bigger issue,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the group Code Pink, a feminist anti-war group, said in a HuffPost Live interview Friday.


Benjamin said the media attention offered the group a platform to discuss why they attended Thursday's hearing, in which they held up signs calling for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, for his involvement in the Vietnam War, to be prosecuted for war crimes, dangling handcuffs by his head.

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the protesters to “get out of here, you low-life scum” as they were escorted out of his hearing where Kissinger was testifying.

The veteran lawmaker, who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, had no regrets for his comments in an appearance on Fox News later Thursday, telling host Neil Cavuto that the protesters acted "beyond the realm of decent behavior."

“Frankly, when someone does almost physically threaten someone, I do believe they should be arrested,” McCain said, distinguishing between peaceful protests and threats. He said the incident was “terribly upsetting: and in a statement said he expected the protesters “will be held fully accountable.”

“I thought he was a little bit more of a polished politician than that,” Benjamin told The Huffington Post. “He lost his cool.”