The late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) listed off the names of dictators while watching President Trump’s inauguration, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) reportedly said at a recent campaign event in Iowa.
HuffPost reported that the 2020 Democratic presidential contender told the crowd of more than 200 about sitting next to McCain and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during Trump’s inaugural address.
“I sat on that stage between Bernie and John McCain, and John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation,” she said. “He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”
Months before his death, McCain warned against Trumpism, telling Americans not to confuse “patriotism with tribal rivalries.”
“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe,” McCain said. “We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.”
In 2017, McCain blasted President Trump’s for praising strongmen leaders and dictators.
“It’s very disturbing … because we are proud Republicans and we stand for human rights,” he said about Trump’s praise for Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and past praise for Russia President Vladimir Putin. “The statements and the comments obviously fly in the face of everything I stood for and I’ve believed in all my life.”
Trump has previously called Kim, who has murdered family members and dissenters with anti-aircraft guns and other assassinations, a “smart cookie.”
In July of 2018, McCain blasted President Trump’s performance at a joint press conference with Russian President Valdimir Putin as “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,” McCain said in a statement following Trump’s press conference in Helsinki.
“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.”
In June of 2018, McCain called the Trump administration’s policy of separating families along the U.S. border “an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded.”