On Saturday, John McCain visited the Wallow fire in Arizona that has devastated over half a million acres of land in that state. He then held a press conference in Springerville, Arizona, where he made a pretty interesting statement: “There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally. The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border.”

John McCain official portrait 2009 1 2 3

For some reason illegal immigrant civil rights groups took exception to his remarks. They pointed out that there is no evidence that the Wallow fire was set by illegals, and requested the Senator provide evidence for his remarks. Instead, McCain has chosen an interesting defense. Although he made his claim after viewing the Wallow fires, and at a press conference to discuss the Wallow fires, his statement had absolutely nothing to do with this fire. Instead, according to his press spokesperson, “McCain was not specifically referring to the Wallow fire. The facts are clear. For years, federal, state, and local officials have stated that smugglers or illegal immigrants.”

A US Forest Service representative was asked if there was evidence that the Wallow fires were started by illegals. He said that there was no evidence of such a thing. Instead, he said that the evidence indicates that the fires began as an escaped campfire.

A representative from a Latino interest group, Angelo Falcon, said that “The degree of irresponsible political pandering by Senator McCain has no limits. With the lack of evidence, he might as well blame aliens from outer space for the fires.”

Let me say this upfront. I’m sort of surprised that Big John has found his way back to Arizona so soon after his election campaign. After all, it was a mere 8 months ago that he won his umpteenth term. I assumed that he spent most, if not all, of his time urging us to get into more and more wars. So in a way, it’s refreshing that he was able to disengage himself from his jaunts across the world to head to Arizona, especially during the summer.

So I’m not too concerned that he got some of his factoids wrong in this discussion. I don’t expect him to have knowledge of every little thing, even if it’s a wildfire that has enveloped much of his state. He went back to DC right after the press conference, where he is more in his comfort zone, attacking people, even Republicans, for not cheerleading all of our wars.