Even as he battles brain cancer, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) remains a moral compass for the Republicans willing to speak truth to power – even if it isn’t what President Trump wants to hear.
Trump was very proud of himself today after he phoned Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his victory in the joke that the Kremlin calls an election, calling it an “insult” to the Russian people.
Putin and his allies forced out all credible opposition candidates and set the stage so the Russian president inevitably would win another six-year term without any real competition.
Trump said after his call that they had a “cordial conversation” as he congratulated Putin, and discussed plans to meet again soon to discuss arms control, the endless war in Syria, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and other serious issues.
That disgusted McCain, who is watching it all from his home in Arizona where he is getting treatment for his illness.
An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election. https://t.co/lcQTBi7CA1
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2018
This was not the first time McCain had taken to Twitter to denounce this election. Two days ago he tweeted:
That #Putin had to work so hard to drive voter turnout shows the Russian people know his claim to power is a sham. The US stands with all Russians yearning for freedom. #RussiaElections2018 https://t.co/Ztj2KogmYn
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 18, 2018
Back on March 15, McCain also tweeted about the situation in Russia, but his congratulations to Trump for punishing Putin were premature, since the president did not actually impose all the sanctions authorized by Congress on Putin and his oligarch cronies.
The admin took an overdue step forward today in holding #Putin accountable for his brazen attack on our democracy. Now, it must work urgently to fully implement #Russia sanctions & ensure #Putin pays a price. https://t.co/T4jOy4ZDBE
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 15, 2018
Trump’s past remarks have made it very clear he has no respect for McCain, a veteran and former prisoner of war whom Trump criticized during the 2016 campaign for getting shot down while flying over Vietnam.
More recently, Trump had promised McCain’s daughter Meghan that he would refrain from criticizing the Senator while he is ill – but of course that promise was quickly broken.
It is tragic that John McCain is nearly alone among Republicans in his willingness to stand up to Trump and say the things others refuse to say about Trump’s horrible actions.
We have to hope McCain wins his battle with cancer against all odds because his voice, courage, and leadership are very rare in the Republican party and non-existent in the Trump White House.