Sen. John McCain ramped up his rhetoric against President Trump without ever speaking his name in a speech at the US Naval Academy.
The Arizona Republican who has minced no words in his attacks on Trump’s policies, took some not so subtle jabs against the president in his speech to Brigade midshipmen Monday night.
McCain warned about nationalist and isolationist ideas that threaten democracies, saying “it’s time to wake up.”
“We have gone from an interval when the global success of democracy seemed assured to a time in which the seductions of authoritarian rule find favor with many; when self-interested leadership excuses naked aggression with weak rationalizations; when ethnic grievances haunt the old and religious fanaticism fires the minds of the misguided young,” he said, contrasting past decades of American history with the present.
“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world,” he said. “We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake. We are asleep in our polarized politics, which exaggerates our differences, looks for scapegoats instead of answers.”
McCain, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spent five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. He has increasingly challenged Trump in recent weeks, earning backlash from the president’s supporters while being hailed a hero by Democrats and liberals who seem to blindly follow the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
His speech in Annapolis, Maryland will no doubt be praised by anti-Trump liberals, even though he managed to steer clear of ever uttering the president’s name.
“We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions,” the 81-year-old senator, who is battling brain cancer said.
He managed to throw in a reference to Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall, as well.
“We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them,” he said.
McCain told the midshipmen that the fight is not necessarily theirs.
“But that isn’t your job. Not directly. It belongs to those of us who hold office and are responsible for making sure you’re sent where you’re needed and equipped and ready for your missions,” he told them.
He recounted how American statesmen in the wake of World War II knew “that tyranny is always a threat to peace” and that “there could be no more isolationism, no more tired resignation — no more ‘America First.'”
Fellow Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake praised McCain’s speech in a tweet on Tuesday.
Great man, great speech https://t.co/0xbBoDX9K2
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) October 31, 2017
The Arizona Republican slammed Trump in a fiery speech last week in which he announced he would not be seeking re-election.
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