I admire John McCain for his military service to our country but I find his political behavior extremely disappointing. Although McCain is a frequent and outspoken critic of Trump’s abhorrent conduct, he remains a reliable supporter of Trump’s agenda. McCain leads us to think he will call out the president once and for all, and then – at the last moment – scurries back into the party fold, unwilling to draw any line in the GOP sand.
But McCain has been consistently right on one point that bears special focus in light of recent events: Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer.
When Trump nominated Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, McCain critically noted that Tillerson had received Russia’s “Order of Friendship,” award, given to foreign nationals who promote relations with Russia, directly from Vladimir Putin. Tillerson received the award after signing deals with the state-owned Russian oil company to drill in the Arctic. McCain said, “I would never accept an award from Vladimir Putin because then you . . . give some credence and credibility to this butcher, this KGB agent. . . .”
Indeed, in Putin’s Russia, political opponents – those who aren’t fortunate enough to be exiled for decades to Siberian work camps – are simply murdered. There is no concept of minority rights. The territory of neighboring countries is forcefully annexed; and brutal dictators, like Syria’s Bashar Assad, enjoy Russian military support.
Trump’s “bromance” with Putin has long been troubling. Last year, when Joe Scarborough confronted Trump about Putins’s extensive record of atrocities, Trump’s answer was chilling: “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.” He added, “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader.”
Now, after his obsequious conduct at the G-20 meeting, Trump has shown himself to be much more than Putin’s fanboy: He is Putin’s puppet, an apologist for the Kremlin.
An American president does not say he is “honored” to meet a foreign despot whose hands are dripping with innocent blood. An American president does not denounce another American president and disparage the American media on foreign soil. An American president does not discredit the unanimous findings of American intelligence agencies and instead countenance empty denials from the man who orchestrated an unprecedented attack on our most cherished institutions.
The president has demonstrated time and time again that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. What will it take for the likes of John McCain to stand up to Trump, to urge invocation of the 25th Amendment or call for impeachment?
By even suggesting the U.S. should work with Russia to stop cyberattacks, Trump offers to give aid and comfort to our nation’s adversary, the corrupt regime whose attack on our national election was tantamount to an act of war. Trump will not protect us from enemies foreign and domestic. Instead, he will deliver us to them. If that isn’t grounds for removal, I don’t know what is.