The justice system, Goldberg argued, effectively indicated that terrorists were fit to vote when it released them from prison. "If he's an American citizen ..." Goldberg started before noticing McCain's shocked face. "He killed people!" McCain exclaimed, referring to bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who killed three people and injured many others.
When Goldberg responded that "lots of people" did that, McCain added, "He's a radicalized terrorist!"
"Our Constitution says if you've done your time, you have — we hope — been reformed, you've been changed ... If they let him out, that means they feel his time is up and he gets to become the American citizen again," Goldberg said.
Their exchange came after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., defended voting rights for felons including Tsarnaev, sexual assaulters, and murderers. "I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy," he said during a town hall event on Monday.
"Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘That guy committed a terrible crime, not gonna let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not gonna let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope," he argued.
Co-hosts Joy Behar and Abby Huntsman both said Sanders' position looked bad to voters. "It'll be used in a campaign ad against him because it doesn't sound good," Behar said.
Goldberg, who noted that Tsarnaev likely would never leave prison, suggested the the justice system was able to reform people to the extent that they could vote as citizens. "That's what prison reform is about," she said, as co-host Sunny Hostin nodded her head in agreement. "If they let this man out, they are saying 'he has been reformed, we have fixed him — rehabilitated him,'" Goldberg added.
Earlier on Twitter, McCain tweeted that candidates like Sanders didn't have any "business" leading the United States.
"No one who thinks literal terrorists deserve the right to vote has any business leading our country. Full stop," she said.