McCain Becomes Critic-in-Chief of the Trump Administration
Arizona senator emerges as an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander-in-chief
Washington: Senator John McCain has long had a reputation as a political maverick. But with the rise of a president who has vowed to shatter theoldorder,McCainhasemergedas an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander-in-chief.
Newly r e - ele c t e d to a si x-yea r ter m and eager to wield the megaphone that comes with the chairmanship of the powerful Armed Services Committee, Mc C a i n has repeatedly pushed back on the White House’s national security policies in its first weeks. In a star turn at a security conference in Munich on Friday, he delivered a forceful critique of President Trump’s “America First” vision before a receptive audience of experts and allied officials worried about American drift from a sevendecade-old Western alliance. “Make no mist a ke, my friends, these are dangerous times,” McCain said. “But you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out.” Nor did McCain hesitate to puncture Trump’s insistence that his WhiteHouseisoperatinglikea“finetuned machine”. “In many respects, this administration is in disarray, and they’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. A day later, in an interview for “Meet the Press”, McCain challenged Trump’s contention that the news media is “the enemy of the American people”. “The first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” he said, adding that while he was not calling the president a dictator, “we need to learn the lessons of history”. For a senator who supports free trade, backs NATO, remains deeply suspicious of Russian intentions and has favored an assertive foreign policy, including the war in Iraq, the differences with Trump have been profound. “The principles that Senator McCain has espoused have animated American foreign policy for decades,” said Richard Fontaine, a former foreign policy adviser to McCain.