Sen. John McCain, the Republican from Arizona, apparently facing a brief lull in all the television interviews he’s given lately to attack President Donald Trump, took to the Senate floor to deliver a scathing verbal assault on a fellow senator, another Republican, this one, Rand Paul from Kentucky.
But truly, folks. Is there a Republican McCain won’t attack?
The context was discussion of a resolution that would allow Montenegro to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
On that, McCain warned that those who object “are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin … trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup,” the Daily Beast noted.
McCain then asked his fellow senators to give a unanimous thumbs-up to the resolution, so it could move forward. That’s when Paul objected, and then left the room without further comment. And here’s where the fireworks really began.
McCain, known in fond circles as the “Maverick” for his reputation at bucking the system and parting with party lines — a nice way of saying he frequently sides with Democrats — got angry and emotional. His voice shook, trembled and, word is, very nearly thundered — as well as an 80-year-old’s voice can, that is.
He said, again from the Daily Beast: “I note the senator from Kentucky leaving the floor without justification or any rationale for the action he has just taken. That is really remarkable, that a senator blocking a treaty that is supported by the overwhelming number, perhaps 98, at least, of his colleagues, would come to the floor and object and walk away.”
Wait for it, wait for it …
“The only conclusion you can draw when he walks away is he has no justification for his objection to having a small nation are part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians,” McCain said. “So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”
And — his mother wears Army boots.
A spokesperson for McCain tried to clarify — a.k.a. smooth his boss’s jump the shark moment — by using lots of big words and hefty sounding phrases, like “Montenegro’s ascension” and “democratic institutions” and so forth. But it’s hard to put a weird-but-true moment like that back in the box. Just ask Fonzi, i.e. Henry Winkler’s character on “Happy Days,” when the show was facing falling ratings and producers, in all their wisdom, decided to have him waterski over a cordoned-off shark. Listen close; you can still hear the laughter. Good news is we all a phrase to use to describe those moments when you realize the crazy’s come to town.
Paul, for his part, said in after-interviews he just doesn’t want America to take on more financial and military obligations by adding to the list of 28 nations in NATO the United States has already pledged to support.
Makes sense. It’s sensible. It’s sane.
You know what’s not, though?
Accusing a U.S. senator of being Putin’s pet, just because he won’t vote for a resolution you want. That’s a crybaby argument — an out-of-left-field accusation — and truly, McCain ought to issue an apology and outright retraction. The Maverick’s gone way beyond the bend on this one.
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