GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona complained about President Donald Trump’s “disturbing” praise of dictators Tuesday.
During an interview on MSNBC, McCain said that Trump’s friendly words toward dictators is “very disturbing … because we’re proud Republicans, and we stand for human rights,” The Washington Times reports.
“I don’t understand it, and I don’t think that the president appreciates the fact that when he says things like that, it helps the credibility and prestige of this really outrageous strongman,” McCain said.
“I wish the president would consider much more carefully his comments,” McCain added, speaking to Trump’s way of referring to leaders like Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Vladimir Putin in Russia.
Over the weekend, Trump appeared Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation” and called Jong-un a “pretty smart cookie,” citing his ability to seize power at the age of 27.
Trump said Monday that he would be “honored” to meet Jong-un “under the right circumstances.”
The offer is unique, as no sitting U.S. president has ever met with the active leader of North Korea. However, the move it isn’t terribly surprising. During his presidential campaign, Trump said he would be perfectly willing to have a meeting with Jong-un.
“I’ll speak to anybody,” Trump said at the time.
Still, McCain emphasized during the interview that he backs Trump’s recent foreign policy decisions, specifically the missile strike in Syria. The strike followed American intelligence reports that the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons at Idlib.
“When the president does his job such as the cruise missile strike, such as selecting a national security team that is the strongest that I’ve seen, such as many of the actual actions he has taken, I will be strongly supportive,” McCain said.
The White House has also taken criticism for inviting Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, for a meeting. This comes despite the fact that many international observers have complained about his abuse of human rights.
A senior administration official told CNN that human rights issues won’t prevent Trump from “defending the national security interests of the United States.”
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