Critics of a possible U.S. military intervention in Syria say any potential campaign would be a serious gamble for American interests. But for John McCain, the high stakes were apparently centered on his iPhone after McCain was photographed playing a game of video poker during Tuesday’s Senate hearings on Syria.
“Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!” McCain wrote to his 1,822,263 Twitter followers after the photo, taken by the Washington Post, began making the rounds on social media.
Despite laughing off the incident, McCain’s poker moment has made him the target of criticism from war opponents and landed him front and center on the Drudge Report.
McCain has quickly become the most prominent supporter of President Barack Obama’s call for military action against the Syrian regime after the government of Bashar Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians.
On Monday, McCain said a vote against Obama’s military proposal would be “catastrophic” for U.S. interests.
McCain is no stranger to card games. A 2008 report from The New York Times noted McCain’s long-standing ties to the gambling industry.
And with his support for a congressional resolution authorizing military action already a given, it’s perhaps understandable why McCain was easily distracted during Tuesday’s testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
It’s unclear exactly when McCain was caught playing the video poker game. But it wouldn’t be a shock if his attention were diverted during Hagel’s testimony. After all, Hagel and McCain publicly feuded in January when Hagel was confirmed to his post.
McCain's poker playing has already resulted in some humorous responses on social media, including a photo illustration placing the Arizona senator in one of the famous “dogs playing poker” paintings.