Every time Donald Trump sings the praises of Vladimir Putin, every American should be missing the late Sen. John McCain.
Missing him … and remembering.
Following Putin's most recent aggression into Ukraine, which President Joe Biden called a “pretext for an invasion,” and while the U.S. was joined by more than two dozen European Union governments imposing sanctions against Russia, Trump described Putin’s offensive as “genius.”
Trump told an interviewer, “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of Ukraine – Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. ... We could use that on our southern border.”
Trump makes excuses for a killer
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Trump has been praising Putin and making excuses for his murderous ways for many years.
Back in 2015, appearing on the Morning Joe program, host Joe Scarborough pointed out to Trump, who was speaking kindly of the Russian dictator, that Putin was a killer.
Trump responded, “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe. I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader.”
In 2017, when Trump’s friend and TV host Bill O’Reilly said to Trump of Putin, “But he’s a killer.”
Their sick bromance went on all during Trump’s presidency.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (whom Trump is working to defeat in the upcoming election) said on Tuesday, “Former President Trump’s adulation of Putin today – including calling him a ‘genius’ – aids our enemies. Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America.”
He 'abased himself ... before a tyrant'
Can you imagine what Sen. McCain would have said about Trump’s praise of Putin?
Back in 2018, after 12 Russian military officers were indicted for tampering in the 2016 election based on evidence collected by U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump sheepishly accepted Putin’s denial of such interference.
McCain said that “no prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
He added, “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. … “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin (and) made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”
We know what McCain would say about Ukraine
McCain also said in a statement when Trump was president and about to speak with Putin that Trump “should remember that the man on the other end of the line is a murderer and thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn. For our commander-in-chief to think otherwise would be naïve and dangerous.”
We can only imagine what McCain might have said after hearing Trump describe Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as “genius.”
On second thought, I don’t think we have to guess.
I think we know.
Reach Montini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: While Trump praises Putin, America misses John McCain