Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain told Republican lawmakers that President Donald Trump is likely to face a foreign policy crisis early in his presidency, and that Congress needs to back up the new commander-in-chief.
“I think President Trump will probably be tested by one or more of these forces around the world. That would be the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Iranians or the Russians,” McCain — chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — told members and senators during a closed-door briefing on national security. A recording of McCain’s remarks was provided anonymously to POLITICO and other news organizations.
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McCain added: “I hope that all of us will support a response which is proportionate. It will also tell Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs and the Chinese that there’s a new team in town.”
The Arizona Republican, a Vietnam War hero who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, also said he believed Putin, the Russian president, is “bent on restoring the Russian Empire.”
McCain said in a Friday statement that if Trump lifted sanctions on Russia, he would work with other lawmakers to restore them.
While offering strong praise for Trump’s picks for Defense secretary and the broader national security team, McCain said the world “is a more dangerous place than it has been at any time in 70 years.”
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also led the briefing.
The senior Republicans painted a grim picture of the U.S. military and national security posture after eight years of President Barack Obama’s leadership.
Thornberry, for instance, said U.S. defense spending — by far the highest in the world — is “$100 billion” below where it should be, and he called for an end to spending …