McCain Tears Into Trump For Congratulating Putin

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

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After spending almost two decades systematically undermining opposition parties, Vladimir Putin was elected to a historic fourth term as president of Russia on Sunday in a contest that, though never in doubt, was marred by allegations of ballot stuffing.

Though the reaction to the victory was mostly muted among western democracies, the heads of state of many less democratic countries like Syria, Venezuela… and the United States called the Kremlin to wish the strongman a hearty huzzah. 

“I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory his electoral victory,” President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday. “We will probably get together in the not too distant future.”

The “very good call” did not go unnoticed. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a fiery statement denouncing the move.

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.” 

This is not the first time some Senate Republicans have voiced criticism of the White House. Along with McCain, who has voted with the president 83 percent of the time, Jeff Flake, who has voted with Trump 85.9 percent of the time, Bob Corker, 86.2 percent, and Lindsey Graham, 88.1 percent, have also regularly voiced words in disagreement with Trump.

They probably aren’t thrilled with the Putin call either.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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