GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's foreign policy approach, has offered measured praise for the commander-in-chief. While McCain maintained that he does not agree with much that the president says or does, he believes that the current administration has accomplished impressive feats so far.
On July 11, McCain was asked during an interview if he believed Trump was committed to stabilizing Afghanistan.
"I'd like to say yes and I believe in many ways he's committed," McCain told The Daily Signal. "He has great respect for [Defense Secretary James Mattis] and [national security adviser H.R. McMaster], who are very good and strong people. But occasionally I see him do things which I don't agree with, to say the least."
The Arizona senator, offering an example of when he disagreed with Trump, cited the president's refusal to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Article Five during a meeting with NATO leaders in May. Article Five is the crux of the NATO alliance, stating that an attack on one member is equivalent to an attack on all members.
"Over a thousand young people from our NATO allies have died in Afghanistan," McCain said. "You have to acknowledge that."
On June 9, Trump reaffirmed Article Five during a White House press conference, CNN reports.
McCain concluded that he was generally pleased with Trump's performance while also occasionally disapproving of his conduct.
"Disregard the tweets, look at what he does," McCain said. "And what he has done is pretty impressive."
On July 9, Iraqi forces with U.S. advisers successfully pushed ISIS out of its stronghold in Mosul, Iraq, NPR reports.
McCain said he was relieved by the blow struck to the terrorist group but worried over the city's fate.
"We do not have a post-Mosul strategy ... We are demanding that there be a strategy," McCain said. "We all know what the problem is. It's in the White House."
McCain has also pushed for a long-term strategy for Afghanistan. On July 12, the Arizona senator announced that he would propose an Afghanistan strategy amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Washington Examiner reports.
"I told them months ago, unless you give us a strategy, we'll give you a strategy," McCain said of the Trump administration.
McCain has previously delivered some blistering critiques of the commander-in-chief. On June 11, the Arizona senator stated that while he believed U.S. leadership in the world declined under former President Barack Obama, it had further worsened under Trump.
"The message is that America doesn't want to lead," McCain told The Guardian. "They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica."