Sen John McCain: “No Prior American President has Ever Abased Himself More Abjectly Before a Tyrant”

Sen John McCain: “No Prior American President has Ever Abased Himself More Abjectly Before a Tyrant” July 17, 2018
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Pinkie

I sometimes disagree with Senator John McCain on the issues. But I have never once doubted that he does what he believes is right for America.

He is a patriotic war hero who has not been able to raise his arms above his shoulders for the past 50 years because of the injuries he suffered in service to this country in wartime. Now, while he is battling a terrible cancer, he has had to suffer the indignity of trashy verbal attacks from a United States president who never wore the uniform a day in his life, and that president’s equally trashy staff members. These attacks have included jokes about Senator McCain’s illness and the fact that the cancer he has is considered fatal.

In all of this, Senator McCain has demonstrated a dignified and focused commitment to doing what he believes is right for America. Instead of replying with trashy comments of his own, he has kept his public comments on matters of concern to this nation.

He has voted with the president’s initiatives when he agreed with them, and voted against them when he didn’t. He has refrained from making statements that attack anyone on a personal level and kept it about what’s best for America.

Senator McCain evidently reacted to the president’s servile performance with President Putin in a manner that was similar to my own. That fact that Senator McCain is a life-long Republican and was the party’s nominee for president in 2008 speaks well of the party as it used to be.

There was a time when Republicans prided themselves on public morality and patriotism. But President Trump has degraded the Republican Party even more drastically than he has degraded America itself, and that’s saying quite a lot.

He has turned a good many otherwise fine American citizens into groupies for his trashy behavior. Many of them have fallen so low that they are willing to side with those who attack this nation, as the Russians did in 2016, rather than America.

When this nation is attacked, Americans should stand with America. The fact that President Trump and a good number of Republican elected officials are using party loyalty to convince not-so-swift American citizens to stand with those who have attacked our nation and against America, is, to me at least, mind boggling.

What good, exactly, is any political party if America itself is forfeit?

The Republic is under attack. It has been successfully attacked. If you are an American and you are not outraged by this, what’s wrong with you?

President Trump completed one of his swooping “summits” with a hostile power yesterday. This time it was with Russia’s President Putin, the same Putin who is attacking our nation so successfully.

It is important to note that the  attacks President Putin authored in 2016 had, as one of their primary aims, the goal of electing candidate Trump to the presidency. That makes our president the primary beneficiary of those attacks on our nation. This is a fact. And, considering President Trump’s behavior vis a vis our allies, as well as his behavior vis a vis President Putin, it is highly pertinent.

This “summit” between the Russian president who has successfully attacked America, and who evidently continues to manipulate and attack us, was held in secret. The President of the United States refused to allow any Americans in the room when he talked to the man who has authored these attacks on our democracy.

It was followed by a shameful press conference during which the President of the United States basically dropped his pants and bent over. Or rather, I should say, he bent us over.

Senator McCain, who is sick and has been reported to be planning his own funeral, made the effort to speak out against this situation. As usual, his comments were based on his personal patriotism. This is especially valuable because, ever since President Trump took office, untrammeled patriotism has been in short supply from both elected Republicans and party faithful who blindly support the Republican Party, no matter what it does.

His action reminds me of Caesar Rodney, who, in 1776,  was dying from a disfiguring jaw cancer. Caesar Rodney rode 80 miles overnight in what must have been a blistering gallop to cast his vote for independence. He arrived in Philadelphia and went straight to the meeting. He cast his history-making vote for the Declaration of Independence while he was still coated with the mud and muck of his journey. This is sometimes referred to as the “little miracle” of the vote that created our country.

Here is Senator McCain’s statement, without edits.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on President Trump’s meeting and press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki:

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president 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.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”


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35 responses to “Sen John McCain: “No Prior American President has Ever Abased Himself More Abjectly Before a Tyrant””

  1. You have just expressed my feelings on Sen. McCain! Thank you. I have not always agreed with Sen. McCain—but I have always admired his commitment to do the best he could for our country, as a Senator plus fighting and being in a prison camp during the mistake the Viet Nam War was. I’m so upset with the way things are currently going. As you and others have seen me write….DT is a disaster for this country and continues to prove it daily. When will the GOP do something about it? President Clinton was impeached for messing with a woman—DT gives our country to Russia and no one does anything? I do not understand.

    • I think a lot of people have gravitated to the Republican Party because they saw the Democrats repudiate their deeply-held beliefs in matters of faith and the sanctity of human life. I would add that many Democrats have done the same thing for the flip side of exactly the same reasons. The difference right now is that the Republican Party is in the grip of a corrupt, amoral demagogue. These people have made the mistake of viewing the Republican Party — or any political party — as a safe moral haven, an absolute value that they could trust without thinking. That is never true. Never.

      One of the things I keep pounding away at — with little real result, I might add — is that people need to give their fealty to Jesus Christ and not posit it in some false idol that they have convinced themselves is a shade of Christ in this life. What we are seeing is the anger of people who are fighting against the loss of totally pretend moral certainty they have convinced themselves they had found in the Republican Party. This is made much worse by the abject worshipfulness some of Trump’s followers feel toward him. A lot of these people are so far gone that they will never wake up unless it all collapses around them.

      But most Republicans really love this country and are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves, if they can get past the circular thinking that those who manipulate them have taught them to engage in. They just need to stop subjecting themselves to constant brainwashing, and their thinking brains will reassert themselves. It’s scary right now. Our country is in real peril with a. man like this as president and so many Americans so eager to follow demagogues and swoon over slogans. But I wouldn’t bet against the United States. I have real hope that people will wake up and begin to behave as independent, free Americans with minds of their own.

  2. It’s nice to see Democrats praising past Republicans. Funny how they didn’t praise them when they were relevant and actually probably trashed them then. So I predict ten to fifteen years from now Democrats will be praising Donald Trump in order to score political points against whoever is the current Republican president. Whenever I see a member of the opposition using past politicians of the opposing party to slam the current politician, the word hypocrisy just rings louder than anything they say.

    As to John McCain, well the brain cancer must be effecting his memory. He himself has slammed Jimmy Carter repeatedly for all the thugs and tyrants he has cozied up to. Just do a search of “Jimmy Carter and tyrants and you’ll find a plentiful supply of articles.

    Or have people forgotten how Obama coddled and supported the thugs in charge of Iran, even giving them a path to nuclear weapons? Somehow I don’t recall all these Democrats being shocked at that. Yet they’re shocked that Trump, who really has no experience as a diplomat ever, misspoke in an effort to try to bring Russian into a more positive relationship. Shocking that politics is played.

      • That’s ok. People can just google what I said. Frankly I think the news world has gone deranged over Trump. Let me ask you this: how do you feel about Nixon going to China? Here was a Cold War enemy that had killed tens of millions of its own people and actually provided arms and support to North Korea during the Korean War, a war where 30 something thousand Americans were killed. Do you think it was a good idea for Nixon to go to China, propping up that murderous regime? Should we not have gone to China? This same hysterical reaction happened then.

        I approve of Trump trying to build friendly relations with Russiaand Putin if need be. I don’t approve of what he said that threw our intelligence agencies under the bus, whether it was true or not. It was Trump trying to build terms with Putin but it lack the diplomatic nuance and skill. He’s not a diplomat but this derangement over suggesting it was treasonous is ludicrous and hysterical. It’s completely uncalled for.

        • I don’t have any feelings about Nixon going to China. I do think that this is an entirely different situation. President Trump was addressing a direct attack on this country of which he was the beneficiary and he denied that it happened. That’s not the same at all as opening diplomatic relations with another country.

          • Well you should if you were consistent. That was way more “traitorous” and from what I read all the critics were slamming Nixon and Kissinger, who they essentially said made a deal with evil. To this day Kissinger is regarded as one of compromised morality. That was looked on as way more traitorous in that 30 something thousand Americans were killed by Chinese supplied weapons to the North Koreans. That as a real attack on Americans.

            • ummmm … this was what? 50 years ago? … and you’re defending Trump with Nixon???

              fwiw, I don’t buy the reasoning that unless I have an opinion that agrees with yours on some artifact of history you’ve tossed out there that I’m, by definition, inconsistent.

              Not, of course that I’m always consistent. No one is. I just think you’re way off, lost in the weeds with this line of argument.

              • The interesting thing about this is that I’d prefer Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.

                But Manny does have a point. How many Americans were killed in this “attack on our democracy”? None at all. At worst, this is the worldwide oligarchy that controls both Putin and Trump (and every other first world government) shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic of Globalism.

                As far as debasement goes- I think Richard Nixon kowtowing to Mao Zedong was far worse.

    • Oh piffle Manny. I supported John McCain in 2008 because of then Senator Obama’s actions vis a vis infant born alive actions in the Illinois legislature. I’ll just bet that, for every Dem you’ve ever supported, I’ve supported a dozen Repubs. I’ve even worked in the campaigns of three different Republicans down through the years, and have donated $$ to at least one pro life Repub.

      Stop making this about the Ds and the Rs and make it about America. Neither of these parties is worth your loyalty. Don’t you know that?

    • “Misspoke”? Come on. Trump sided with Putin against the United States of America. He did not misspeak. He spoke deliberately and traitorously. Don’t be one of Trump’s fools.

    • Manny, DT said exactly what he meant to say—he didn’t misspeak. However, seeing the results of his first statement, he then attempted to correct what he said by using that excuse—and even then he couldn’t even stick to the script put in front of him to read—and it was obvious he was reading someone else’s words. So, no, DT did not misspeak….he is a great admirer of “strong men”, Putin being his current “leader” to admire. It is a little scary to know he and Putin and 2 translators were the only ones in a room for 2 hours. Hoping that the American translator can be made to testify as to what was said—we probably were sold to Russia. What is worse, Putin stood in front of the press conference and said he told his people he wanted DT to win….and told them to help. When asked he said “Yes I did, Yes, I did”. He admitted it in front of the whole world and DT still says he believes Putin when he says he had done nothing. Really?

        • WHO are you talking to Ted? I’ve heard no such thing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. All I’ve seen is a few right wing nuts, saying that’s what Dems want, in an effort to obfuscate and try to excuse what is not excusable.

        • No, I don’t want a physical war with Russia. But I do not want a cowardly leader kissing up to Putin either, and that is exactly what DT is doing and continues to do. DT doesn’t have the gumption to stand up face to face and tell Putin he knows they have messed with our elections and are continuing to do so. Also, I’m not a member of any political party—I’m an Independent.

  3. Said he just before breaking out into a chorus of ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb; Bomb, bomb the Reds!’ It’s just amazing how so many seem to want war, at least Cold style, with Russia again. All of this when only a few years ago the idea that Russia was our biggest threat was literally a presidential campaign altering joke. As one who has three sons of military age, I am not amused. BTW, I am not happy about Trump’s performance in the least. I’m merely less happy about the sudden ‘We are too at war with Russia, it’s our enemy, we need to make it clear!’ rhetoric that would have been rightly decried as neocon warmongering 101 only a few years ago. We won’t even discuss tweets from politicians wanting the military to get involved, as if a military coup is a sane option. Sometimes I swear the only thing that is more insane than Donald Trump is his critics.

    • Dave, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I’m certainly not advocating armed conflict with Russia. I do think we were successfully attacked and that we need to put together a real and effective defense against further attacks, as well as explore means other than armed conflict for answering this attack. I think that everyone who is mad at me for writing this and angry with Senator McCain for calling the president out on it, would be saying the exact opposite if the president was a Democrat. I don’t get that. This worship of political parties is flat-out nuts.

      • Actually, I give Senator McCain credit. At least he’s consistent. He is just as gung-ho as always. The problem is, many now singing his praises for wanting Trump to put the screws to Russia were calling him a bloodthirsty warmonger for saying the same thing about Iran or other countries through the years. And that is the big problem. I mean, the drumbeat for war with Russia is disturbing to say the least. Sure, Russia meddled. So far its biggest impact seems to have been hacking the DNC. We can all agree that having our information hacked by a foreign power is very serious. But by the very stories now flooding the news about how Russia has been this threat for years, I can’t help but wonder where was the hysteria a few years ago. To be honest, It’s not Russia that bothers me. It’s not even Trump. it’s the feeling that we’ve crossed a lien where we no longer have any core principles or concern with anything but winning at all costs. So six years ago? It wasn’t politically expedient to care about Russia. Today it is. So today it’s the Cold War, if not worse. Not because it is. But because it is convenient.

        • That’s right about McCain. There isn’t a war he hasn’t wanted us to get into, a president he didn’t essentially call immoral, and every diplomatic solution involves acting like Churchill against Hitler. He’s off the wall.
          He would have been a horrible president, and I voted for him.

      • It is; it’s flat out nuts and crazy that when you write the truth about what Trump did and it’s out there for all the world to see, on the world stage no less, and then people are mad at Senator McCain for calling Trump out on it? Trump always believed that he could get away with anything but sure enough, the GOP refuse to stop an out of control bogus executive.

      • You may not be. I’m certainly hearing rumblings from the Democratic side who believe that the correct response to cyberterrorism is an ICBM aimed at Moscow.

        While that may be a “real and effective” defense, I think it misses the point. Given what America has done to interfere with democracy around the globe in the last 20 years or so, we living in the glass house shouldn’t be surprised when other people throw our stones back at us.

          • Grassroots level. Occupy Activist level. When I ask them what it would take to prove that Trump is serious about preventing interference in our political process, nothing less than an nuke on the Kremlin will do.

            • Well … that’s sounds like a rather extreme conversation, but it’s not a call for nuclear war, not even by whoever these people are. It’s hyperbole all around. Was this conversation in a combox Ted?

              • On the street in Portland with anti-ICE protestors who have been blocking access to the DHS building. Anti Trump Democrats who see Trump as an evil monster placed here by Putin to separate children from parents.

                • I realize you. live in left-wing crazy land. I live in right-wing crazy land. I don’t think either one is representative of the thinking of most of the people of this country.

  4. Thanks for this post. Senator McCain expressed my feelings on President Trump’s bizarre and disgraceful performance at Helsinki better than I could.

  5. Trump will never realize his second responsibility to the United States of America. His responsibility Leah only with himself. May God bless Senator McCain. His dignity, courage, duty, and love of country are the shining stars of what used to be the Republican Party.

  6. NOTE: Comments that include cursing, calling people — including me — names, wishing that another person would die and making threats are always deleted on this blog.

  7. Interesting comments. I actually supported McCain also at least until he pick his running mate but that’s not the point I want to make. Certainly on many fronts I have disagreed with what I felt was a too quick readiness for war. But I have also had much respect over the years for his apparent willingness to work on solutions with both republicans and dems. I am offended that anyone who served our country should be as ill treated as John McCain has been by DT and subsequently his constituents. I agree with your comments and characterization of Senator McCain. I have said and will continue to say. Common curtesy is not political correctness. It used to be the hallmark of a civilized country and needs to be again.

  8. Has it been 50 Years already. Then Capt McCain was one of the heroes of the Hanoi Hilton, enduring unimaginable treatment while providing leadership and an example to his fellow American prisoners. Trump calling him a loser for being captured was disgusting, especially coming from someone who sat out the war with “bone spurs” while playing varsity tennis. I suspect Trump would have been spilling his guts within 5 minutes in that place.
    Like you I may have disagreed with him but never once questioned his integrity and loyalty. His statement says everything that neede3d to be said about Trumps overseas adventure. I have no desire to see a shooting war with Russia but at the same time we need to treat them as the threat they are, Russia is not our friend!

  9. When it comes to Donald Trump, there’s always a surface game, a subsurface game, and a sub-sub-surface game.

    I think McCain only plays two levels down- but given his history, both medical and heroic, for this nation, he deserves to be able to.

    On the third level down, it’s Trump that owns Putin, in a number of ways. Not the other way around. And I’m not outraged because I see the modern American Republic as nothing more than a bunch of barbarians who have forgotten how to be civilized; we deserve this attack because we’ve forgotten how to be the UNITED States.

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