“Donald Trump is a bully and a thug,” said Senator John McCain in a radio interview this weekend, BuzzFeed reports.
Senator McCain has been a critic of Trump in the past, calling into question Trump’s understanding of Syria and international politics, as well as his role in the Republican primary. But the senator’s strong words this weekend were the first time he’s spoken so candidly about Trump.
“To pay a compliment to this KGB murderer [Vladimir Putin] is something that I just can’t find in any way plausible and is incomprehensible,” McCain said. “For him to provide propaganda to Vladimir Putin – who is a thug and a murderer – I think is really astonishing and shows either profound ignorance or an attitude that contradicts everything about the United States of America and our relations with our adversaries.”
In July, as the presidential primary was just heating up, Donald Trump had some harsh words for McCain, who he derided for being captured during his service in Vietnam.
Trump claimed McCain was just a “war hero because he was captured” and went on to say, “I like people who didn’t get captured.”
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in July.
John McCain spent five years in a prison camp during the Vietnam war, while Donald Trump, who was of age to serve, received five draft deferments during the Vietnam war. The Daily Beast goes so far as to accuse Trump of draft dodging.
“The thing that is so concerning about Mr. Trump’s compliments to Vladimir Putin is Putin has slaughtered and murdered his own people, including people I knew,” McCain said on Concord News Radio.
Donald Trump’s support from Putin and his kind words about the Russian president have been met with a cascade of criticism from U.S. and international media, as the Inquisitr reported earlier this week, and the hits keep on coming.
“I’ve always had a good instinct about Putin,” Trump told Simon Conway of WHO Radio.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) December 22, 2015
John McCain isn’t the only GOP politician who is unsettled by the growing intimacy between Trump and Putin. Four years ago, the GOP presidential nominee claimed that Russia and Putin were America’s biggest geopolitical foes.
Since Trump’s declaration of support for Putin last week, former Romney aides and campaign strategists have been coming out of the woodwork, slamming Trump for his support of the controversial Russian president.
“You just sort of shake your head. At some point the voters are going to recognize that this isn’t a serious campaign,” a former Romney aide told Politico.
In response to criticism for the mysterious deaths of journalists under the Putin regime, Trump suggested that U.S. does its own fair share of killing.
“Well I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe,” Trump said.
Mitt Romney jumped on that comment, tweeting that there’s an important distinction between a “thug” like Putin killing journalists and a U.S. President killing terrorists and enemy combatants.
“Donald Trump is like a stray dog anybody can pet and it will follow you home,” says former Romney adviser Stuart Stevens. “Putin praises him so he loves Putin. It’s embarrassing and sad. He’s a seriously damaged individual who is deeply insecure and needs attention and praise and the source doesn’t matter.”
If elected, Trump wouldn’t be the first U.S. president to fall under Vladimir Putin’s spell. After a meeting between Putin and George W. Bush in 2001, the former president described Putin as “straightforward and trustworthy,” telling the U.S. press that he’d gotten a sense of Putin’s soul. Bush even came away with a nickname for the Russian President.
He called Vladimir Putin “pootie-poot.”
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]