U.S. Sen. John McCain said Friday he's sorry he called fellow Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul “wacko birds,” and hat he respects “what they stand for and what they believe in.”
McCain, in a recent interview with the Huffington Post, was commenting on Paul, Cruz, and several other Republicans who performed a filibuster on John Brennan's nomination for CIA director, reports The Hill
. When the interviewer asked McCain if Paul, of Kentucky, and Cruz, of Texas, are positive influences in the the Republican Party, he instead called them “wacko birds.”
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But on Friday, the senior senator backed down, telling Fox News his comment was “inappropriate and I apologize to them for saying that because I respect them both.”
He noted both men have already made an impact in the Senate, and he respects their viewpoints.
Cruz said he appreciates McCain's apology, but “on the substance, if it makes us wacko birds to stand for liberty, to stand for the Constitution, then that's a badge of honor I wear proudly.”
The Texas senator said he had no interest in responding to McCain's words with harsh words of his own. He noted that on Thursday, he praised McCain's military service during a Senate speech on the 40th anniversary of the veteran's release from a Vietnam prisoner of war camp.
“Whatever senators may choose to say disparaging things about me, I have no intention of doing the same,” Cruz said. “Lots of folks may say things they may regret later. I can't control what they say. What I can control is what I say and my focus is consistently focused on the substance and the merits."
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