Senator John McCain (R-AZ), one of the most prominent advocates for military intervention in Syria, faced the wrath of his constituents during a town hall meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday.
The crowd at the town hall appeared to vehemently oppose authorizing President Barack Obama to order military strikes against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and they vented their anger at McCain.
“We didn’t send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war,” one man angrily told the five-term senator.
Another waved a bag of marshmallows as he attacked Congress for ignoring the will of their constituents.
“This is what I think of Congress,” he said, according to CNN. “They are a bunch of marshmallows. That’s what they are. That’s what they’ve become. Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It’s not our fight.”
Another urged McCain to seek a diplomatic solution.
“For me, to listen to you say there is no good option in Syria…I refuse to believe that,” the woman said. “The good option right now is to take Saudi Arabia and Iran and force them to stop supporting the two sides in Syria. And you could do it. You can do it by diplomacy, not bombs, Senator McCain. We cannot afford to shed more Syrian blood.”
Video highlights from the town hall are below, via AFP:
McCain’s constituents’ angry response to his support for military strikes in Syria meshes with the experience of other lawmakers, who have reported overwhelming opposition to intervention. Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is leading efforts to defeat the authorization bill in the House of Representatives, claims that voters are jamming his colleagues’ phone lines with calls about Syria, and estimated that the calls have been “100-to-1” against the resolution.
That anecdotal evidence is somewhat misleading — the angry opposition is always likely to be louder than those who support a more nuanced response — but there is no question that the American public is closer to Representative Grayson than Senator McCain on the issue. As this graphic from The Huffington Post shows, multiple polls have found that majorities oppose airstrikes in Syria (much less a broader regime change effort, which McCain has long favored).