McCain calls Lindsey Graham his 'illegitimate son'

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

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Graham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 MORE said Wednesday he has an illegitimate son.  

That illegitimate son is 59-year-old Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan 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