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Republican Senator for Arizona, John McCain, during his speech after receiving the Medal of Freedom.
Republican Senator for Arizona, John McCain, during his speech after receiving the Medal of Freedom.

A Republican Slap-in-the-Face

Senator John McCain's speech during the Freedom Medal Ceremony has unveiled the depth of the fracture within the Republican Party.

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President Trump had a strong Republican party that would support him during his presidency, but his political inconsistencies have succeeded in cracking one of the strongest political groups in American history.

During his speech to receive the Freedom Medal last Monday - an annual award given by the National Constitution Center of the United States in recognition of the pursuit of freedom - Arizona Republican Senator John McCain warned that to "fear" the world the US has organized for “three quarters” of a century, "abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe" and "refuse the obligations of international leadership ... for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems" is “as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history”.

His speech was framed in the tribute received by his service to the country, from where he warned of the dangers that imply a US political retreat towards nationalism, represented by the slogan "America First", that has been propelled by Donald Trump and his advisers.

"We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil," McCain said, referring to the Nazi slogan chanted by some of the white supremacists that participated in the violent demonstrations last August in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don't. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn't deserve to."

McCain received the Medal of Liberty from former Democratic vice-president Joe Biden, a 22-year Senate partner with whom, although representing different parties, he has maintained a good relationship, Univision reported.

In a radio interview, President Trump responded to the Senator's convictions saying that people have to be careful because at some point I fight back," Trump said. "I'm being very nice. I'm being very, very nice. But at some point, I fight back and it won't be pretty", CNN reported.

McCain's response was simple and straightforward: "I've faced far greater challenges than this," he said on Capitol Hill.

And it is that both politicians have not gotten along well in a long time.

During his presidential campaign, Trump scoffed at the Senator's military record, asserting that he "is only a hero because he was captured," referring to McCain's incarceration during the Vietnam War.

Despite his discontent with the presidential candidate, McCain had lent his support to the Republican figure until an audio recording was made public where then-candidate Donald Trump made sexist comments in "Access Hollywood," prompting the senator to withdraw his support for the tycoon.

As he was re-elected as Arizona's senator, and facing a tough battle against an aggressive brain tumor, McCain cast the decisive vote to rescind Obamacare, making his political position clear, from which he backed a bipartisan agreement to find a solution to the US health system.

For President Trump, this was "a tremendous slap in the face" for the Republican Party.

As the Washington Post recalled, in an interview on the "60 Minutes" show on September 24, hostess Lesley Stahl asked the Arizona Republican whether the new legislative misunderstandings about immigration (more specifically, about dreamers) represented "the beginning of the divorce (between Trump) and the Republicans," to which McCain answered that the president's behavior is always unexpected. “He changes his statements almost on a daily basis. So for me to spend my time trying to analyze what he says, I don’t know.”

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