McCain calls Lindsey Graham his 'illegitimate son'

McCain calls Lindsey Graham his 'illegitimate son'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE said Wednesday he has an illegitimate son.  

That illegitimate son is 59-year-old Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Warren: Officials have duty ‘to invoke 25th amendment’ if they think Trump is unfit MORE (R-S.C.), the Arizona Republican senator said at a defense conference in Washington. 

Though it is not the first time McCain, 78, has made that joke, it drew chuckles from the crowd. 

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Journalist and author Tom Ricks, who was moderating a panel discussion with McCain at the New America Foundation Future of War conference, asked the senator, "Is there anybody else in Congress interested in defense issues besides you?"  

McCain replied, "Lindsey Graham, of course!" 

"Well, that's your 'mini-me,' " Ricks said. 

"My illegitimate son, Lindsey Graham," McCain said, prompting laughter.

Graham, an Air Force Reserve colonel, is a senior member of the Senate Armed Service Committee that McCain chairs. 

The two are good friends and are both defense hawks whose foreign policy views closely align. They also, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), call themselves the "Three Amigos." 

McCain also called Graham his illegitimate son last month when the Three Amigos unveiled legislation with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to restrict detainee transfers from Guantánamo Bay. 

A reporter asked McCain what he thought about Mitt Romney, who was then considering another presidential run in 2016.  

"My illegitimate son Lindsey Graham is exploring that option," McCain said. "So I am strongly encouraging Sen. Lindsey Graham, particularly with the world the way it is today. No one understands the world today in the way that Lindsey Graham does, in my view." 

-- Updated 2/26/15 at 6:36 p.m. ET