Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is openly condemning President Trump’s recent summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a public statement posted to his website, Sen. McCain said Trump’s appearance with Putin was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” and called the meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland “a tragic mistake.”
“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” McCain stated.
Among the “propaganda and lies” McCain accused Putin of spreading during the globally televised press conference was that investor Bill Browder funneled $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, which Putin says was obtained illegally (The Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote that there were no donations of $400 million to either Clinton’s campaign or the Clinton Foundation from Browder or any entities associated with him).
In the statement, McCain referenced Putin’s history of undermining democracy in the U.S. and around the world, his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attacks on civilians, his illegal invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and his alleged killing of journalists and political opponents, as reason for Putin to be considered an “adversary” of the United States.
“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. 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,” Sen. McCain stated. “American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”
In addition to McCain, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who is retiring in January, also spoke out against Trump’s closeness with Putin. In response to Trump’s claim that it’s still unknown whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Ryan said “there is no question” that Russians meddled in the election and that Trump “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”
“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy,” Ryan said.
Read John McCain’s statement in its entirety here.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.