President Donald Trump has unsettled allies, as well as Americans, Senator John McCain said during a speech in Sydney on the future of U.S. relations with Asia.
McCain -- the chairman of U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 -- said Tuesday that Australia wasn’t alone in questioning whether America was still committed to upholding peace and justice around the world.
"Other American allies have similar doubts these days and this is understandable," McCain, 80, told a crowd at the University of Sydney’s U.S. Studies Center. "I realize that some of President Trump’s actions and statements have unsettled America’s friends. They have unsettled many Americans as well."
McCain’s remarks come on the heels of Trump’s first overseas trip, including the sometimes awkward gatherings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Group of Seven nations. Trump told NATO leaders they had fallen short of what they “owed” to the alliance by $119 billion and prodded them to pay more.
After three days with Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told supporters at a campaign event in Munich on Sunday that "the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over."
Trump has also had his share of bumps with allies in Asia, including a reportedly testy phone call in January with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in which the U.S. leader called a refugee resettlement pact between the two countries as the “worst deal ever.” During a meeting with Turnbull earlier this month, Trump later denied the conversation was difficult and said the allies “will remain friends for a very long time.”
In Sydney, McCain criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade pact that would have knitted together almost 40 percent of the global economy. He said Australia didn’t need to choose between an economic relationship with China and security ties with the U.S. and encouraged efforts to enact TPP without the U.S.
"I would urge you to keep at it,” McCain said. “And hopefully, someday in the future, under different circumstances, America will decide to join you."
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