Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on President Trump’s actions at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels and his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki:
“President Trump’s performance at the NATO summit in Brussels was disappointing, yet ultimately unsurprising. There is little use in parsing the president’s misstatements and bluster, except to say that they are the words of one man. Americans, and their Congress, still believe in the transatlantic alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and it is clear that our allies still believe in us as well. That President Trump signed the Brussels Summit Declaration and ultimately expressed confidence in the future of the alliance is testament to the patience, forbearance, and commitment of our steadfast NATO partners.
“Now all eyes turn to Helsinki, where President Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin. The president’s task is to reverse his disturbing tendency to show America’s adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies. He must show that he can be strong and tough with Vladimir Putin—not for its own sake, but to demonstrate his willingness to defend America, its allies, our shared interests, and our common values against those who threaten them.
“Putin is not America’s friend, nor merely a competitor. Putin is America’s enemy—not because we wish it so, but because he has chosen to be. He chose to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea. He chose to help the Assad regime slaughter the Syrian people. He chose to attack America’s election and to undermine democratic institutions throughout the world and in Russia itself. It is up to President Trump to hold Putin accountable for his actions during the meeting in Helsinki. Failure to do so would be a serious indictment of his stewardship of American leadership in the world.”