Republican Senator John McCain said former president Barack Obama was a better world leader than current President Donald Trump. The Arizona senator, who is increasingly strident in his attacks against the president, made the remarks to the The Guardian, a British daily, late Sunday.
McCain said Trump’s frequent exclamations on social media have sent out a message that “America doesn’t want to lead.”
He insisted the president has left U.S. allies in a policy vacuum where they are “not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or Antarctica.”
McCain is went so far as to suggest that Obama — against whom McCain ran as the Republican presidential standard-bearer — was a better world leader than Trump, saying that America’s standing with the world was better under the Democratic president “as far as American leadership is concerned.”
McCain’s comments came in response to a tweet from Trump that accused Qatar, where thousands of American troops are stationed, of “funding extremism.”
Trump also cited the diplomatic quarantine of Qatar from its Arab neighbors as a positive initiate and even possibly, “the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism.”
That observation has again demonstrated a policy divide with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has played down the importance of Qatar, just as he was openly supportive of the Paris climate accord in defiance of Trump.
McCain’s first brush with Trump came during the Republican presidential primaries when candidate Trump questioned McCain’s bonafides as a “war hero.” Since Trump became president, McCain has repeatedly second-guessed his policy initiatives and his actions, partially blaming Trump for the Syrian chemical gas attack and forcefully calling for an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election. Last week, while questioning former FBI director James Comey, McCain appeared confused and disorientated, at one point addressing Comey as “President Comey.”
McCain attributed his bizarre performance to staying up late to watch baseball games.