Sen. John McCain condemned Tuesday’s brawl between protesters and members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., and suggested the Turkish ambassador should be thrown “the hell out” of the U.S.
McCain, R-Ariz., appeared on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" on Thursday and slammed Turkish officials for violating “American laws.”
“We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” McCain said. “This is the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey; this isn’t a third-world country; and this kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically.”
McCain added: “It should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them. After all, they violated American laws.”
The Secret Service announced on Wednesday that it is investigating the attack that sent nine people to the hospital, and according to the D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, it appeared to be unprovoked.
Later in the day Wednesday, McCain and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a joint letter to Erdogan to express their "grave concern" with the behavior of his security detail.
"The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans. Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government," the letter said. "We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO, and a key U.S. ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decade’s long partnership."
McCain and Feinstein weren't the only lawmakers who condemned the incident and called for action.
On Wednesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Erdogan’s security detail.
“If Erdogan’s bodyguards who participated in this attack have entered the country on diplomatic visas, those visas should be revoked right away,” Lofgren said, slamming Erdogan as “authoritarian” and “an oppressor” and said that it was “unwise” for Trump to meet with him.
“The United States needs to send a strong message that we will not stand by," as Erdogan brings "thuggish tactics to our nation’s capital,” Lofgren said.
Also on Wednesday, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday urging immediate action to hold individuals accountable.
“I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States,” Royce wrote. “Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior.”
Royce added: “Above all else, they should never be permitted to violate the protections afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
The State Department issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the incident, and said: “Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.”
The State Department said they were communicating their concern to the Turkish government in the “strongest possible terms.”