McCain calls Lindsey Graham his 'illegitimate son'

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

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics Cindy McCain condemns video of fake Trump shooting political opponents, late husband MORE said Wednesday he has an illegitimate son.  

That illegitimate son is 59-year-old Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham throws support behind Trump's Turkey sanctions Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Fury over Trump Syria decision grows 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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