While Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has voted with President Donald Trump 97.4 percent of the time (per FiveThirtyEight), the senator has taken multiple opportunities to hammer the current administration.
Today, the 2008 Republican candidate for president penned a New York Times op-ed intimating that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (whom Sen. McCain voted for) has set forth an American policy that gives little hope to oppressed people abroad. In one section, Sen. McCain writes that, “We are a country with a conscience. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it.”
Sen. McCain goes on to say that a foreign policy hinging on transactional politics isn’t just antithetical to American ideals, but actually dangerous and damaging to the nation’s reputation. And he prefaces all of his by recounting his own time as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, and how the sort of hope he discusses at length in the piece kept him strong during the worst time of his life.
The senator was inspired to pen the article after Secretary of State Tillerson told department employees: “In some circumstances if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can’t achieve our national security goals.” Those words were seen by some national security experts (such as John Kirby) as a defense of the administration’s recent warmness for controversial leaders such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Phillipines’ Rodrigo Duterte, who have both been accused of extensive human rights abuses in their countries.
Head here to read Sen. McCain’s full op-ed.