He might be away from Washington, DC while getting medical treatment for brain cancer, but that doesn’t mean that Senator John McCain isn’t keeping tabs on what is happening overseas at the summit in Helsinki — and he definitely has some thoughts on what transpired Monday during the joint press conference held by President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He released a statement on his official website.
“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”
He may be a Republican senator from Arizona, but McCain has always been a maverick, unwilling to spout the party line simply because there is an “r” after his name. He has often reached across the political aisle to work with Democrats, much to the chagrin of party leaders. He has certainly been a thorn in Donald Trump’s side, but the president hasn’t endeared himself to McCain either, having mocked his time as a POW, alluding to the fact that he likes people who haven’t been captured, as well as a member of his staff, who has since left, saying something disparaging about his fight against cancer.
“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”
McCain has been banging the drum about Russian interference in our elections and wanting to hold them accountable for it. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 more Russian nationals for their interference, and yet the president sent out the following tweet.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
McCain took umbrage with the President Trump’s performance and called him out, saying, “Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad.”