After John McCain's passing on August 25th, many people have shared memories of the former Senator. But not all memories are sweet.
POLITICO recently shared a video from McCain's 2008 presidential campaign when he was running against Barack Obama.
In the video, a woman can be seen criticizing Obama. McCain appears to defend the now former president.
Watch the interaction below.
During the 2008 campaign, a woman said she couldn't trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.” John McCain shook his head.… https://t.co/TLwmd52mdk— POLITICO (@POLITICO)1535248215.0
The woman can be heard saying,
"I can't trust Obama. I have read about him. He's a — he's an Arab."
Senator McCain proceeds to take the microphone out of her hand and say,
"No ma'am. He's a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues..."
Some people feel that this is one of McCain's best moments.
@politico BEST clip of @SenJohnMcCain ever— SoporificCRNA💙🌊 (@SoporificCRNA💙🌊)1535248272.0
@politico @CherylStockman This was the classiest example of dignity and truthfulness I have ever seen during a camp… https://t.co/u1iewWn2pK— Candace Sidebotham (@Candace Sidebotham)1535289694.0
But others pointed out that McCain seemed to insinuate that Arabs are not "decent family men".
By countering the woman's statement about Obama being "an Arab" with points about Obama's character, he directly implied that Arabs are incapable of having good qualities.
Perhaps he was alluding to the fact that the woman's statement was tinged with disgust regarding Arab people, but many people do not think McCain's response reflected him in a positive light.
In fact, many people are wondering why Senator McCain failed to state that Arabs are just as good of people as anyone else.
@politico @Meshel_Laurie ‘He’s not Arab, he’s decent’? This is supposed to reflect well on McCain?— Jeff Sparrow (@Jeff Sparrow)1535248960.0
@politico Arabs can be decent family men... Why does the media keep uncritically bringing up this moment?— Petty Is Praxis (@Petty Is Praxis)1535248344.0
@rtyson82 @politico They don't want to bring up the fact #JohnMcCain failed (or purposely didn't) equate being an A… https://t.co/4tlws17AMW— Juan Moya (@Juan Moya)1535248969.0
@StephenKing That takes as an implicit notion that Arab people cannot be decent family men and is pretty goddamn racist— Super Nintendo Chalmers (@Super Nintendo Chalmers)1535246879.0
STOP w/ the story about how #JohnMcCain shut down a racist at a rally by saying @BarackObama wasn’t Arab but “a dec… https://t.co/tL5erjjCbp— Jordan Landry (@Jordan Landry)1535273971.0
But others have come to the late senator's defense, saying that his statement was more in regards to the woman's claim that she "can't trust him" and that it had nothing to do with her claim that Obama was "an Arab".
@rtyson82 @politico Someone else mentioned this- him saying “he’s a decent family man” was in response to her sayin… https://t.co/rsr5aUtoUx— K (@K)1535254440.0
@laura_hudson I took McCain’s “No”to mean “No, he’s not an Arab AND he’s a decent family man...” Etc. I never had t… https://t.co/nbTwpDHnvt— Stephen King (@Stephen King)1535249693.0
And many Arab people are actually defending McCain's comment.
@heyadiana I’m an Arab and even I understand that McCain did not mean that Arabs were not citizens or decent famil… https://t.co/D7OQ36jen6— no (@no)1535416965.0
I’m Arab-American with no tolerance for racism. I don’t understand why people are freaking out about this. It seems… https://t.co/jYYQW4iV8s— Sulome Anderson (@Sulome Anderson)1535303894.0
Journalist, Jonathan M. Katz shared his comprehensive take on the interaction.
That time when McCain confronted the woman who said she couldn't trust Obama because he's an "Arab" may be the most… https://t.co/VEN7IICTxX— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535259315.0
If you look back, McCain was in a town hall that apparently had a number of racist white people who kept saying tha… https://t.co/OG3cQYdtA6— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535259604.0
A lot of people have focused in on the fact that McCain responded to the woman's statement that Obama was "an Arab"… https://t.co/VRV18Hm63A— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535259713.0
What the woman actually said was: “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not? Um. He’s an Arab. He's… https://t.co/cJhFAWAEIe— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260013.0
The word she kept skipping over after "he's not" was probably either "an American" or "a citizen." The idea is that… https://t.co/ACnq7fLsCG— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260238.0
The thing that I think is better than some people give it credit for is that McCain answered more what she meant th… https://t.co/frsImBiCKJ— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260404.0
Even @vox got this wrong in trying to remember him tonight. They transcribed his quote as saying "he's not [an Arab… https://t.co/CES2iaAmvH— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260532.0
The thing that was tellingly WORSE than people gave it credit for, I think, is that it revealed how deeply embedded… https://t.co/BhM8u9pBdk— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260724.0
And this connects directly to the rise of Trump. Our national conversation depends on an agreed upon set of facts a… https://t.co/kPHl8iSXVk— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535260934.0
When people who hate Trump, who deplore the Nazis, who care about truth, etc, etc, still tacitly assume with their… https://t.co/m8cQRmUgsV— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535261167.0
... and on and on, they are ultimately ceding the argument to people like the woman in red. And that really is what… https://t.co/1WQ2nGrfgE— Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz ✍🏻)1535261402.0
Whatever your stance is on his statement, McCain was aware of his mistakes. When speaking to Jake Tapper on how he wanted to be remembered he said,
"He served his country and not always right. Made a lot of mistakes. Made a lot of errors, but served his country. And I hope we could add honorably."