Sen. John McCain is dropping any sense of pretense regarding his relationship with President Trump in his forthcoming new memoir.
McCain, who is battling brain cancer and will not be seeking reelection, says he now feels free to speak his mind about his own past and share his thoughts on the future of American politics.
The Arizona Republican and one-time prisoner of war admits he’s had his differences with each of the six commanders-in-chief who have occupied the White House over the course of his career on Capitol Hill.
But he takes particular aim at the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
McCain laments Trump’s made-for-TV tough guy image, indicating that he believes its all bluster and no bite.
“He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones,” McCain writes. “The appearance of toughness, or a reality show facsimile of toughness, seems to matter more than any of our values.”
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The scathing assessment of Trump is included in excerpts of McCain's forthcoming book, "The Restless Wave," published on Monday by Apple News. The book, co-written by Mark Slater, McCain's longtime aide and writing collaborator, is slated for publication on May 22.
The 81-year-old's disdain for Trump’s caustic personality and influence on the conversations in Washington has surfaced before.
His actions in the Senate since Trump became President even helped revive his old “maverick” nickname.
Initially dubbed a “maverick” for standing up to his party when he ran for president in 2000 and 2008, McCain earned the title again for shooting down Trump’s failed Obamacare repeal.
The Senator’s dramatic early morning “no” vote last summer torpedoed the GOP’s efforts to pass a so-called skinny repeal bill.
Trump has said that McCain is “the only reason” the Affordable Care Act is still law of the land.
McCain also laments the “decline in civility and cooperation, and increased obstructionism” he has seen in Congress.
He writes that there are some lawmakers and officials in the federal government whom he respects and are “committed to meeting the challenges of the hour” — but they differ from Trump in a big way.
“They might not be the most colorful politicians in town, but they’re usually the ones who get the most done,” McCain writes.
He also wants to see Americans seek presidential candidates who promise to create relationships across political parties, candidates who are willing to compromise and work with those across the aisle.
McCain writes that he is dismayed by the “scarcity of humility in politics these days.”
“I suspect it’s never been in abundant supply in most human enterprises,” McCain writes according to the excerpt. “And I don’t mean modesty. Any politician worth a damn can fake modesty. Humility is the self-knowledge that you possess as much inherent dignity as anyone else, and not one bit more. Among its other virtues, humility makes for more productive politics.”