Defense

McCain: ‘Leaning against’ voting for Trump’s budget pick

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday he is “leaning against” President Trump’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“I’m leaning against because when I asked him about his vote to remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan — by the way, I remind you, where Osama bin Laden used to hang out — and his answer was he volunteered to tell me it was because he ran into one angry constituent who was a veteran,” McCain said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“That that’s the reason why he voted to pull all our troops out of Afghanistan. That’s a lapse in judgment in my part — I believe.”

McCain said he’s “very, very worried” that Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Trump’s nominee to head the OMB, will continue the efforts to “slash the military,” which McCain said has been cut by 21 percent in the last eight years.

{mosads}”I don’t think any of us believe that we’re 21 percent safer,” McCain added.

Mulvaney needs the support of 50 senators for his nomination to be confirmed. The GOP has a 52-seat majority, meaning Mulvaney could be blocked if three Republican senators join the entire Democratic conference in opposing him.

McCain also expressed concern with Mulvaney on Tuesday. He called out Mulvaney for a series of votes he made against increasing military funding and in favor of pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Europe.

“Maybe you don’t take it with the seriousness that it deserves,” McCain said of supporting the military during Mulvaney’s hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“It’s clear from your record that you’ve been an impediment to that,” said McCain.

Mulvaney, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has opposed major defense spending boosts before, while McCain and other defense hawks have supported them.

Mulvaney on Tuesday promised to support Trump’s pledge to expand the military and defended his previous votes against funding as efforts to increase government transparency.

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