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McCain mocks Cruz over guns on bases claim

McCain mocks Cruz over guns on bases claim

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Mark Kelly releases Spanish ad featuring Rep. Gallego More than 300 military family members endorse Biden MORE (R-Ariz.) is mocking Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation Texas and North Carolina: Democrats on the verge? Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE (R-Texas) for claiming he is “pressing” for hearings on allowing U.S. troops to carry private firearms on military installations.

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“You know, I was fascinated to hear that because I haven’t heard a thing about it from him. Nor has my staff heard from his staff. Where did that come from? I have not a clue,” McCain told reporters on Monday. “I’d be glad to discuss the issue and see if we need a hearing, but it came as a complete surprise to me that he had been pressing me.”

“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 GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Democratic Rep. Carbajal tests positive for COVID-19 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.