McCain: Trump failing on Afghanistan

Keren Carrion
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ripped President Trump’s handling of the Afghanistan War on Thursday, saying the White House has failed to provide strategic guidance since Trump took office.
Less than a week after casting the decisive vote against Trump-backed ObamaCare repeal legislation, McCain defended the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan from criticism by Trump, saying on twitter “Our commanders-in-chief, not our commanders in the field” were responsible for the failure in the country.
While McCain blamed past administrations for the problems in Afghanistan, he said in a statement that the lack “of successful policy and strategic guidance from Washington” had continued into the new administration.
“I urge the President to resolve the differences within his administration as soon as possible and decide on a policy and strategy that can achieve our national security interests in Afghanistan and the region,” McCain said.
McCain has promised to provide his own strategy on the 16-year-old war, warning that he would introduce an amendment in the annual defense policy bill if the White House fails to announce its own this month.
“If the President fails to do this by the time the Senate takes up the defense authorization bill in September, I will offer an amendment to that legislation which will provide such a strategy,” he said.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran who serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also defended the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, following criticism from the president.

“General John Nicholson has served our country with honor and distinction for 35 years. He has earned the trust and admiration of those he has served with. And he has earned my full confidence,” McCain said.

Trump had pushed to fire the general during a meeting with his national security team last month, saying the United States is “losing” the war, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

The Republican lawmaker has not shied away from criticizing the Trump administration for its lack of strategy in the war-torn country.

He has also bucked the administration’s push on healthcare, casting the deciding vote last week to kill a scaled-down ObamaCare repeal bill, halting healthcare reform efforts in the Senate.

McCain delivered a scathing speech on the Senate floor last week before the vote, in which he slammed the closed-door process of crafting the GOP bill.
“We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration … asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t,” he said.
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