McCain: Trump 'diminishing America’s leadership'

McCain: Trump 'diminishing America’s leadership'
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) excoriated President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE on Friday for calling on Russia to be invited back to the Group of Seven, blasting the move as the “antithesis” of principled realism and “a sure path to diminishing America’s leadership in the world.”

He became the third Republican senator to condemn Trump’s statement that the G-7, a group of major industrial powers, should not be meeting this weekend in Quebec without Russia.

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McCain contrasted Trump’s friendly words for Russia to his hard-line negotiating tactics with allies such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union on trade.

“The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies,” McCain said in a statement.

“Those nations that share our values and have sacrificed alongside us for decades are being treated with contempt. This is the antithesis of so-called ‘principled realism’ and a sure path to diminishing America’s leadership in the world,” he added.

Russia was suspended from the G-7 in 2014 after it annexed Crimea in what Western countries saw as a gross violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty.

McCain was one of the first lawmakers in Congress to call for Russia to be ejected from what was then the G-8 after it was accused of committing atrocities during the Chechen war.

He backed legislation in 2003 urging then President George W. Bush to suspend Russia’s membership in the G-8.

Trump sparked a controversy before departing for Canada Friday by declaring that Russia should be at the negotiating table.

“Why are we having a meeting with Russia being in the meeting?” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it," he said. “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”

Two Republican senators criticized Trump immediately after his comments.

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls Huawei officials say they would 'welcome' US ban on tech posing national security risk MORE (R-Neb.) called the move “weak.”

“Putin is not our friend and he is not the president’s buddy. He is a thug using Soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against America, and our leadership should act like it,” he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeWANTED: A Republican with courage Protesters who went viral confronting Flake cheered at award event Feinstein to introduce bill raising age to purchase assault weapons after California shooting MORE (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted, “No, Russia should not be added to the G-7.”

Democratic leaders quickly attacked Trump’s statement.

“President Trump is turning our foreign policy into an international joke, doing lasting damage to our country, without any rhyme or reason,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (N.Y.).

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLet's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens Trump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group MORE (Ill.) contrasted Trump’s friendly treatment of Putin to his sharp-elbowed negotiations with Canada, Mexico and the European Union on trade.

“Now watch President Trump grovel at the feet of our adversary and punish our strongest allies,” Durbin tweeted.