Politics

John McCain: American Leadership Was Better Under Obama

| by Michael Howard

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona lashed out at President Donald Trump during a recent interview with The Guardian, stating that America's leadership was better under former President Barack Obama.

McCain's remarks came when asked by the British newspaper how he felt about Trump's criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who Trump accused of downplaying the gravity of the terror attack that took place on June 3.

"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" Trump tweeted the day after the attack.

The tweet drew widespread condemnation, with many arguing that Trump had deliberately taken Khan's words out of context. Khan had stated that Londoners should not be alarmed by the increased police presence in the city in the days following the attack.

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Trump pushed back against the criticism, tweeting on June 5: "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement. [Mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!"

The Guardian wrote that McCain was "visibly irked" when asked what kind of message Trump had sent with his tweets.

"What do you think the message is?" he replied. "The message is that America doesn't want to lead. [Other countries] are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica."

McCain was then asked whether the U.S. had a better global reputation under Obama, whose foreign policy McCain once described as "feckless," according to CNN.

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"As far as American leadership is concerned, yes," he said.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona struck a similar tone, warning that Trump's Twitter habit could have "serious consequences" for the world.

"I've said a number of times, it would be easier if Trump wasn't tweeting so much," Flake told The Guardian. "In terms of foreign policy, this is going to have serious consequences."

Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama's deputy national security adviser, said Trump's ambiguous views on NATO have made America's longtime allies uneasy.

"He’s making it impossible for these countries to be seen to be following his agenda," Rhodes explained. "The United States is clearly no longer recognizable to our traditional allies as a global leader."

"Traditionally, when you talk about summits such as NATO or the G7, the United States drives the entire agenda," he continued. "Now, not only are we not doing that, but we’re at odds with key pillars of western foreign policy."

Sources: The Guardian, CNN, Donald J. Trump/Twitter (2) / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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