Meghan McCain was outraged on Tuesday after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued that people convicted of felonies ― including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ― are entitled to voting rights just like any other U.S. citizen.
The “View” co-host rebuked the 2020 presidential candidate’s comments during the show’s broadcast, deeming them “disgraceful” and encouraged the Republican National Committee to “turn that into an ad.”
“It is not hard to say people who commit acts of terror in this country should not only be punished but God forbid they should have any rights that any of us had,” McCain said, emphasizing a difference between giving voting rights to violent offenders and those arrested for low-level crimes, like marijuana possession.
“It is not hard to put lines between terrorists and people who commit low-level crimes,” she added. “It’s not hard to say the Boston terrorist was a psycho lunatic who is a threat not only to national security but shouldn’t be allowed the right to vote in any elections.”
Earlier in the discussion, co-host Sunny Hostin said she wasn’t sure if she agreed with Sanders but noted that U.S. laws are often “disproportionately applied to people of color,” adding that this impacts their ability to vote. “There’s real disenfranchisement of the African American vote of the Latino vote,” she said.
McCain interjected soon after.
“If Democrats want to drag everybody this far left, this is why people like me are so upset and so disenfranchised,” she said.
Sanders’ controversial remarks were delivered Monday night during a CNN town hall.
“The right to vote is inherent to our democracy, yes, even for terrible people,” Sanders said, calling it “a slippery slope” to select who can and cannot cast a ballot.
The point, he explained, was that all people, by virtue of being under the U.S. system of government, should not be denied the right to vote.
“I believe even if they’re in jail they’re paying their price to society but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy,” he said.
Asked whether he felt even Tsarnaev ― who was sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in the 2013 attack that killed three people and injured well over 200 ― should be allowed to vote, the senator said, “I do believe that.”
Presented with the same question during her own appearance at the town hall, one of Sanders’ challengers, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) did not specify whether Tsarnaev, in particular, deserved voting rights, but expressed an openness to the possibility.
“I think we should have that conversation,” she said.