Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivered a scathing criticism of President Donald Trump’s worldview on Friday, though he never mentioned Trump by name.
“What would von Kleist’s generation say if they saw our world today?” McCain said at the start of a speech at the Munich Security Conference, referring to the international security policy conference’s founder.
The conference, founded in 1963, now hosts hundreds of diplomats and senior government officials annually. Other American attendees this year included Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly, and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT)
“I fear that much about it would be all too familiar for them, and they would be alarmed by it,” McCain continued.
“They would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism. They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see towards immigrants and refugees and minority groups, especially Muslims. They would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies. They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”
The last comment was a subtle jab at an interview Trump gave to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Super Bowl Sunday. After O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer,” Trump responded: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” (McCain indirectly referenced the comment later in the speech, when he said: “I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries.”)
“But what would alarm them most, I think, is a sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West,” McCain continued. “That they see it as a bad deal that we may be better off without, and that while Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it’s unclear whether we have the will.”
At a panel discussion during the conference, McCain further called the resignation of Michael Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser a sign that “this administration is in disarray,” and said the separate branches of government would check the President.
“Both the legislative and the judicial branches will be exercising our Constitutional responsibilities,” he said.