Tags: Donald Trump | John McCain | North Korea | McCain | Trump | Dictators

McCain: Trump's Praise of Kim Jong Un, Dictators 'Disturbing'

By    |   Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:21 AM

President Donald Trump's praise of the world's dictators and strongmen, including comments that he'd be "honored" to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, are "disturbing," Sen. John McCain said Tuesday.

Further, Trump's comments "obviously fly in the face of everything that I've stood for and believed in all of my life," McCain told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"I don't understand it," the Arizona Republican said. "I don't think the president appreciates the fact that when he says things like that, it helps the credibility and prestige of this really outrageous strong man."

Much is known about North Korea's human rights abuses, McCain continued, and "the largest gulag left on Earth is in North Korea.

Trump's comments on Kim, as well as others he's made concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and others are in direct contrast to what the late President Ronald Reagan would have done, McCain said.

"One thing Reagan did was he praised people who stood up against dictatorships," said McCain. "This is a dramatic departure from the kind of human rights that I admired Ronald Reagan so much for, and I think one of the reasons why he was the most successful president in history."

Trump's statements are also disturbing to Republicans on Capitol Hill, said McCain.

"We are proud Republicans and we stand for human rights," he said. "I don't want to fight every war and put down every brush fire, but I do believe that we have to stand for those fundamental principles so that we can assume a leadership role in the world. Otherwise we're just like everybody else. I don't want to be like everybody else."

McCain, though, said he has been "strongly supportive" when Trump has "done his job," including with cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airfield, and "selecting a national security team that is the strongest I've seen," and he plans to continue supporting Trump.

He also praised Trump for his commitment to restoring the nation's military, and "there are many things the president has done that I strongly support as far as national security."

However, Trump's contradictory statements also create confusion among the United States' allies around the world, McCain said.

"Consistency has got to be the fundamental pillar of national security policy, and I wish that the president would consider much more carefully his comments, particularly in praise of a North Korean -- he's worse than a dictator. He's a despot," said McCain.

McCain said he's also concerned about Trump's decision to invite controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House.


"The guy in Philippines has praised extrajudicial killings; 7,000, I've read, have been killed," said McCain. "You can't praise that kind of behavior and not raise concerns around the world ... Democracy is in greater assault and pressure now when you look at the flow of refugees, when you look at all the strains, the rise of ultranationalist leaders in various countries in Europe, like Hungary and others, we need the message of freedom, the message of human rights, the message we stand for democracy more than ever before."

Reagan, he continued was "by no means perfect" and made many mistakes, but from the beginning, he opposed despots.

"In the words of Margaret Thatcher, he won the Cold War without firing a shot," said McCain.

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President Donald Trump's praise of the world's dictators and strongmen, including comments that he'd be "honored" to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, are "disturbing," Sen. John McCain said Tuesday....
McCain, Trump, Dictators
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:21 AM
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