Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Finance: Dems seek probe of acting SEC chief | Defense hawks say they won't back short-term funding | Senate seen as start point for Trump infrastructure plan | Dems want more money for IRS Overnight Defense: Pentagon considers more troops for Afghanistan | McCain, Graham won't back short-term funding | GOP defends Trump rules of engagement McCain and Graham: We won't back short-term government funding bill MORE (R-S.C.) did not mince words Sunday when responding to Secretary John KerryJohn KerryFBI Director Comey sought to reveal Russian election meddling last summer: report Congress, Trump need a united front to face down Iran One year ago today we declared ISIS atrocities as genocide MORE's defense of U.S. leadership in conflicts around the world.
"He gave the most ridiculous and delusional summary of American foreign policy I could imagine," Graham said on NBC.
The comments came after Kerry described more than 10 episodes of U.S. progress in conflicts like the Syrian civil war, where he noted that American officials struck a deal to remove chemical weapons from the country.
Kerry was adamant in a prior interview with NBC that the Obama administration is pursuing the right path by exercising caution and diplomacy rather than more aggressive interventions.
"In every fundamental issue of conflict today, the United States is in the center leading and trying to make peace where peace is very difficult," Kerry said.
He added that Obama's approach of "peaceful, diplomatic engagement" is superior to tactics employed by the George W. Bush administration such as "quick-trigger deploying of troops."
The back-and-forth came as the Obama administration is increasingly engulfed in foreign policy challenges, from rising conflict between Israel and Hamas to unanswered questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Graham called on Obama to impose sanctions that hit Russian President Vladimir Putin personally, as well as the country's energy and banking sectors.
He also urged the White House to arm Ukraine, put more NATO troops on the ground and rebuild missile defense systems in the region.
U.S. and European officials have hesitated to ratchet up the pressure, particularly with sanctions, which could produce an economic backlash.