Sen. John McCain blasted President Obama’s “horses and bayonets” zinger as “unpresidential” on a conference call this morning, saying it showed a “lack of maturity.”
“I don’t know why the president of the United States feels it’s necessary to denigrate and insult his opponent,” said McCain. “It’s not only bad taste, and, frankly, inappropriate for a president of the United States, but it’s also wrong.”
Obama said last night that America’s shrinking Navy isn’t a concern, because “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
But McCain pointed out that Obama’s plan to “pivot” to Asia requires a strong naval presence, and sequestration would hinder that.
“The fact is, we will have the smallest Navy since 1914 if sequestration takes place,” said McCain. “To then justify a steady reduction in ship building shows a misunderstanding of the size of the challenge we face in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal notes that bayonets (while used infrequently) are still standard-issue weapons for U.S. Marines, and they’re trained to use them in hand-to-hand combat situations. Obama’s remark was met with criticism from some Marines on Twitter, and from military surplus outlets that sell the weapon.