Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) confronted anti-war Code Pink protesters at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, saying "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

The hearing, to include testimony from former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and George Shultz, was on global threats and national security strategy.

"I'd like to say to my colleagues and to our distinguished  witnesses this morning: I've been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place," said McCain.

McCain is a military hawk who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. He was taken captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, McCain defended his actions, saying: "Code Pink’s typical protest tactics include interrupting Congressional hearings with chanting and sign-holding, which while disruptive and improper, do not represent a threat to witnesses. What happened today was far different. As Dr. Kissinger entered the hearing room to take his seat, a group of Code Pink protesters rushed up to the witness table to confront him, waving handcuffs within inches of his head. Some senators were concerned enough for Dr. Kissinger’s safety that they came down off the dais to support the witnesses. With no U.S. Capitol Police intervening, the episode went on for several minutes."