Clip of Sen. John McCain Reacting to Peter Doocy Recirculates

On January 25 2022, two Imgur users shared clips of the late Sen. John McCain responding to Fox News personality Peter Doocy, as part of sub-discourse involving Doocy and U.S. President Joe Biden.

Just one day later, Doocy’s Wikipedia entry featured a summary of the 2022 incident involving Biden, in contrast with characterizations of the moment as having involved a “hot mic”:

Fact Check

Claim: In a circulating clip, Sen. John McCain asked Peter Doocy of Fox News: "Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb? Huh?”

Description: A circulating clip indicates that the late Sen. John McCain, in response to a question from Peter Doocy of Fox News, asked, ‘Why would you say something so stupid?’ and ‘Why would you ask something that dumb?’.

Rating: True

Rating Explanation: The claim is based on actual footage from an encounter between Sen. John McCain and Peter Doocy which have seen a resurgence after a similar, recent incident involving U.S. President Joe Biden and Doocy.

After a White House East Room press conference focused on the January 2022 economic decline, a departing Doocy inquired, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” President Biden responded, sotto voce, “It’s a great asset.” “More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” Doocy reported that Biden called him later that day to “clear the air” over the comment.

Biden’s commentary was shared to Imgur in video format on January 25 2022 (with “hot mic” in the title):

Subsequently, people began to share posts about late Sen. John McCain and Doocy having an exchange caught on camera. One was a video post, titled “People calling Peter Doocy stupid is a long and storied Washington pastime”:

Another was an image of McCain:

Doocy was barely in the shot, but a caption at the bottom read:

MCCAIN: “Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb?”

Sen. John McCain died in August 2018. An October 2017 YouTube clip on the channel of Sam Seder, “‘Why Would You Ask Something That Dumb?’ Grumpy McCain Explodes At Steve Doocy’s Son,” featured commentary and a clip of the exchange between Doocy and McCain (at around 1:47).

On October 18 2017, Mediaite’s “McCain Roasts Steve Doocy’s Son: ‘Why Would You Say Something That Stupid?’” reported on the exchange, transcribing Doocy’s initial remarks to McCain and adding McCain’s additional comments:

“Has your relationship with the president [Trump] frayed to the point that you are not going to support anything that he comes to you and asks for?” Steve Doocy’s son asked McCain in the halls of the Senate.

“Why would you say something that stupid?” McCain replied, staring intensely into Doocy’s eyes. “Why would you ask something that dumb? Huh?”

“My job as a United States senator, is a senator from Arizona which I was just re-elected to. You mean that I am somehow going to behave in a way that I’m going to block everything because of some personal disagreement?”

“That’s a dumb question,” he concluded.

After President Joe Biden called Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch” in January 2022, clips and transcriptions of the late Sen. John McCain’s similar encounter with Doocy recirculated. McCain indeed asked Doocy why he would “say something so stupid” and why he would “ask something that dumb,” in response to Doocy asking if he intended to not support anything proposed by then-President Donald Trump.