GOP Sen. John McCain shredded President Trump for his calls for Russia to rejoin the G-7, saying: “The President has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies. Those nations that share our values and have sacrificed alongside us for decades are being treated with contempt.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) condemned President Trump’s call on Friday for Russia to be reinstated to the G7 group of leading industrial nations after the country was suspended from the then-G8 group in 2014 over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, calling the move as the “antithesis” of principled realism and “a sure path to diminishing America’s leadership in the world.”
“The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies,” McCain said in a statement..
“Those nations that share our values and have sacrificed alongside us for decades are being treated with contempt. This is the antithesis of so-called ‘principled realism’ and a sure path to diminishing America’s leadership in the world,” he added.
“Why are we having a meeting with Russia being in the meeting?” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.
“I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it,’ he said. “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”
McCain joined two other Republican senators who excoriated Trump’s statement that the G-7, a group of Western economic powers and Japan, should not be meeting this weekend in Quebec without Russia.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the move “weak.”
“Putin is not our friend and he is not the president’s buddy. He is a thug using Soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against America, and our leadership should act like it,” he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “No, Russia should not be added to the G-7.”
“President Trump is turning our foreign policy into an international joke, doing lasting damage to our country, without any rhyme or reason,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
“Now watch President Trump grovel at the feet of our adversary and punish our strongest allies,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) tweeted.
The Hill notes:
McCain was one of the first lawmakers in Congress to call for Russia to be ejected from what was then the G-8 after it was accused of committing atrocities during the Chechnyan war.
He backed legislation in 2003 urging then President George W. Bush to suspend Russia’s membership in the G-8.
Trump sparked a controversy before departing for Canada Friday by declaring that Russia should be at the negotiating table.