McCain, in new memoir, chides Trump for undermining U.S. values

 

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain rebukes President Donald Trump in a new memoir, accusing his fellow Republican of failing to uphold U.S. values by showering praise on international "tyrants," discrediting the media, ignoring human rights and demeaning refugees.

"Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity," wrote McCain in "The Restless Wave," which he co-authored with longtime aide Mark Salter.

"It is hard to know what to expect from President Trump, what's a pose, what's legitimate," McCain said in the book that is due to be released on May 22. An advance copy was sent to Reuters by publisher Simon & Schuster.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, remains one of the strongest voices in his party on foreign policy, despite a battle with brain cancer. He has been credited with championing civility and compromise in Congress during an era of acrid partisanship in U.S. politics.

The 81-year-old Arizona lawmaker, who has served in the Senate since 1987, has also been both a critic and target of Trump, who during his 2016 presidential campaign disparaged McCain's war record by saying he was not a hero after enduring 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

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John McCain and family through the years
Ok one more. @senjohnmccain with me at our first Christmas as a married couple.
@senjohnmccain @zelda.frenchie.1 and our two boys Jack and Jimmy enjoying the morning at the Navy Memorial.
@DBacks game with @meghanmccain and. @senjohnmccain
So many years ago. @meghanmccain @senjohnmccain at her Columbia University graduation.
One of my favorite family photos. An oldie but a goody! @senjohnmccain @meghanmccain
Thank all of you for the wonderful thoughts. @senjohnmccain is doing well. We as a family will face the next hurdle together. One thing I do know is he is the toughest person I know. He is my hero and I love him with all my heart.
The highlight of my day. ❤️🍴🇺🇸
My rock @cindymccain ❤️❤️❤️
Happy early birthday Dad - I love you with all my heart. ❤️🇺🇸🌵🎂🍰
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To everyone who has sent me and my family such kind words of strength and prayers, thank you from the bottom of my heart, it really has been helping me. We start my fathers last (first round) of radiation and chemotherapy today. This last month has easily been the most challenging and difficult of my life. I come from a long lineage of warriors and I have never been more grateful for the strength and fortitude that has been passed down to me, I am relying on it now more than ever. My natural inclination is always to be open and share my life but at the moment I am still in a place where I just want and need to be around my family and am asking for your understanding and patience. To those of you out there living with #GBM or who have a family member or loved one living with #GBM, you are my absolute heroes. We are in this fight together, sending you all love and light. #FUCKCANCER
Happy Fathers Day to my father @senjohnmccain. This picture is how I always think of you, relaxed, in Arizona, grilling us ribs and listening to Frank Sinatra. Thank you for teaching me how to love life and seize every moment. Thank you for exposing me to the world (it's good and bad) and teaching me about character, conviction and having true grit. Finally thank you for always giving me something to believe in, in a world where it has become increasingly harder to find. I love you with all my heart. 🇺🇸❤️
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In his memoir, McCain said Trump had appeared to mock the idea the United States should promote its values abroad and slammed him for threatening to kill the spouses and children of terrorists during his campaign.

"His lack of empathy for refugees, innocent, persecuted, desperate men, women and children is disturbing. The way he speaks about them is appalling," said McCain, who still chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee despite his long medical absence from Washington.

At the same time, McCain noted Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he "seems just as smitten" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, leaders whom McCain accused of repression.

"He has showered with praise some of the world's worst tyrants," McCain added.

He also accused Trump of failing to raise U.S. concerns about human rights.

"The world expects us to be concerned with the condition of humanity. We should be proud of that reputation," McCain said. "I'm not sure the President understands that."

Trump's branding of unflattering news stories as fake news - regardless of their validity - was a technique "copied by autocrats who want to discredit and control a free press," McCain said.

The White House did not immediately offer any comment on McCain's accusations.

 

POLITE REBUFF

McCain was the central figure in one of the most dramatic moments in Congress of Trump's presidency when he returned to Washington in July 2017, shortly after his brain cancer diagnosis, for a crucial middle-of-the-night vote.

Still bearing a black eye and scar from surgery, McCain gave a thumbs-down signal in a decisive vote to scuttle a Trump-backed bill to repeal the Obamacare healthcare law.

In the book, McCain recalled how Trump called him shortly before he cast his vote.

"I listened quietly as he asked me to reconsider. I don't remember exactly how I responded, but it was a polite rebuff," McCain wrote.

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McCain votes no on Obamacare 'skinny' repeal
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) holds a news conference with fellow GOP senators to say they would not support a 'Skinny Repeal' of health care at the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Republican senators said they would not support any legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare unless it was guaranteed to go to conference with the House of Representatives. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: (L-R) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) hold a news conference to say they would not support a 'Skinny Repeal' of health care at the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Republican senators said they would not support any legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare unless it was guaranteed to go to conference with the House of Representatives. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks with reporters after voting against the "skinny repeal" health care bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: Sen John McCain (R-AZ) leaves the Senate Chamber after a vote on a stripped-down, or 'Skinny Repeal,' version of Obamacare reform on July 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCain was one of three Republican Senators to vote against the measure. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a press conference about his resistance to the so-called "Skinny Repeal" of the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) leaves the the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol after voting on the GOP 'Skinny Repeal' health care bill on July 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Three Senate Republicans voted no to block a stripped-down, or 'Skinny Repeal,' version of Obamacare reform. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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McCain mocked Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka - whom he called some of Trump's "weirder" advisers - saying he was relieved they had left the administration.

"Bigger misfits haven't been seen inside a White House since William Taft got stuck in his bathtub," McCain wrote, referring to early 20th-century President William Howard Taft.

McCain concluded his memoir by citing Robert Jordan, the main character in Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls," who said as his death approached: "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it."

"And I do too," McCain wrote. "But I don't have a complaint. Not one. It's been quite a ride."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Additional reporting by Will Dunham, Susan Cornwell and Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)

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