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McCain: Trump 'diminishing America’s leadership'

McCain: Trump 'diminishing America’s leadership'
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (R-Ariz.) excoriated President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' 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 SasseBen SasseRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy's vulnerabilities | Biden leading 'whole-of-government' response to hack | Attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids 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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Republican reactions to Cheney's removal Flake: No greater offense than honesty in today's Republican Party Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP 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 SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (N.Y.).

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick Durbin28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw 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.