McCain Rejects and Denounces Hagee

John McCain has repudiated, rejected, denounced, distanced, and otherwise made it clear that he’s not a big fan of John Hagee, who he thinks is a nut.

McCain Rejects and Denounces Hagee In the face of mounting controversy over headline-grabbing statements from Pastor John Hagee, CNN has learned presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has decided to reject his endorsement.

The Huffington Post had published a recording of Hagee saying that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee’s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” McCain said in a statement to CNN Thursday.

Hagee is miffed.

“I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues. I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Senator McCain for President effective today, and to remove myself from any active role in the 2008 campaign,” he said in a statement.

The gays are ecstatic. Brent Childers, the Executive Director of something calling itself “Faith In America” has sent out an announcement saying,

Sen. McCain’s refusal to accept Hagee’s endorsement is yet another milestone in religious America’s slow but steady ascent to that pinnacle in the future at which gay and lesbian individuals are no longer harmed by those who use misguided religious teaching to justify a climate of rejection, condemnation and violence.

Watching Sen. McCain’s appearance on the Ellen Digeneres show yesterday and observing his body language, it raises the question in our minds as to the conflict between what Sen. McCain really believes and what people like Hagee have espoused for so long.

McCain had previously distanced himself from other nutty ideas espoused by Hagee but not declined to reject his endorsement. Responding to Hagee’s declaration that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for New Orleans’ sinfulness, McCain declared, “It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense. I don’t have anything additional to say. It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, I don’t have anything more to say….it’s nonsense. I reject it categorically.”

My strong guess is that McCain, like myself, had never heard of this Hagee yahoo but was approached by staffers telling him that he was a big muckety muck among a certain subset of the evangelical community and he should seek out his endorsement. Whoever’s responsibility it was to perform due diligence failed. I don’t think that person is McCain — that’s probably a step or two below his pay grade — but McCain hired that person, so he is accountable.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Campaign 2008, LGBTQ Issues, Religion, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Floyd says:

    While musing over a term to describe the above article I thought of “confounded”… Then I read on and saw the “it’s nonsense” paragraph and the perfect word occurred to me!…


    don’t know what they have to say,
    it makes no difference anyway –
    whatever it is, I’m against it!
    No matter what it is or who commenced it,
    I’m against it!

    Your proposition may be good,
    but let’s have one thing understood –
    whatever it is, I’m against it!
    And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
    I’m against it!

    I’m opposed to it.
    On general principles I’m opposed to it.

    For months before my son was born,
    I used to yell from night to morn –
    “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”
    And I’ve kept yelling since I first commenced it,
    “I’m against it!”

    Quote is from the Groucho Marx performance in “Horsefeathers” …. or was it… John McCain???

    Say the secret woids and win an election!![lol]

  2. Sven says:

    had never heard of this Hagee yahoo but was approached by staffers telling him that he was a big muckety muck among a certain subset of the evangelical community

    I don’t find that at all plausible. Hagee’s made a lot of waves with his PAC, drawing personal plaudits from Mehlman, Brownback, Santorum, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Cornyn and (via videotape) GWB himself at its opening shindig, and effusive praise from Lieberman at the second annual event. He meets with Eliot Abrams and Ehud Barak. He handed Netanyahu an $8.5 million check in Jerusalem.

    McCain chased the endorsement for more than a year, meeting Hagee at events like CPAC. The former offered the latter something to seal the deal – probably revolving around Israel policy. Along the lines of “I don’t agree with your ends, but I think you’ll like my means.”

    To me that’s more disturbing than Hagee’s clownish theology. It’s no coincidence that Hagee and Condi Rice both use the phrase “birth pangs” when referring to wars in the Levant.

  3. Floyd says:

    Here it is… You’d hardly recognize John with the mustache!!
    Listen to the whole thing! It’s GREAT!

  4. legion says:

    Hagee is clearly taking the “You can’t fire me- I quit!” route here. And people like Childers are complete and utter morons – McCain didn’t “refuse Hagee’s endorsement”, as Sven notes, he actively chased it for the better part of a year, and trumpeted it once he got it. McCain only ditched Hagee when it became clear that not even his cozy relationship with the press would be enough to keep the sheer craziness of that bigoted f*ckwad off the front pages.

    Whoever’s responsibility it was to perform due diligence failed. I don’t think that person is McCain — that’s probably a step or two below his pay grade — but McCain hired that person, so he is accountable.

    And this should tell you a lot about how a prospective McCain Presidency would play out – just like Bush’s, with an unending parade of unfit, wacked-out criminals damaging this country, marching off into right-wing-welfare-land (writing pithy columns at The Corner or the Washington Time), while McCain just smiles and waves…

  5. legion says:

    Which reminds me – has anyone had the balls to ask Holy Joe Lieberman how he feels about Hitler being sent by God to herd the Jews back to Israel? I’m really curious to hear how he responds to that.

  6. LaurenceB says:

    Both Rev. Hagee and Rev. Wright espouse views I strongly disagree with, and I therefore refuse to vote for either of them.

    Good thing they’re not candidates.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Sen. McCain’s refusal to accept Hagee’s endorsement

    Why are you printing this tripe? McCain actively pursued Hagee’s endorsement, and appeared on camera with him trumpeting it once it was in hand. As recently as March he was defending Hagee’s repulsive statements, saying they had been “taken out of context”.

    While I am pleased that McCain is distancing himself from this man’s views, we should keep the record straight…

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Only fools don’t believe in Revelations, not that I agree with him because we are all punished for sin, but I can tell you this, look for the signs, they appear and appear, and it is written that they would and they are.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:


    please stop liberal
    never knowing why

    empty, endless debating
    how many times you try

    stupid wishful thinking
    earthly procrastination
    going to get us all to die

    you will never find the answer
    you will never find the truth
    you will never tell us why

    all your complications
    all your reasons
    all your lies
    you need to get to kneeling
    pray for God to open your eyes!

    From the play “My donkey gets to vote”

  10. Separation of church and state? — not so much.

    Perhaps McCain is learning.