It was no secret during the election year that many Republicans wanted to see someone else, anyone else, get the GOP nomination. But that opposition to Trump’s antics and the threat they posed to the Republican Party has only heightened for some. Appearing as a guest on David Axelrod’s podcast The Axe Files, Arizona Senator John McCain expressed his frustration. When Axelrod asked him if, because of the sudden reemergence of Russia as a global player, he saw parallels between Trump and Reagan, McCain didn’t mince words:
To state that there’s some moral equivalency between an imperfect nation — that’s the United States of America — and Vladimir Putin is appalling…I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a difference between, well, aren’t we killers and the guy that stood there and said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall.’
The former presidential candidate likened Russian interference in the U.S. election to a physical attack on our country, and in fact said it was worse than if they had just bombed us:
It’s one thing to destroy a building with a bomb or inflict damage, but if you destroy the fundamentals of a free and open society, which is what democracy is all about, you inflict incredibly heavier damage.
While McCain stopped short of actually accusing anyone of treason, he did call for accountability for any individuals involved in the criminal hacking scandal. And he expressed support for Trump’s national security team, while simultaneously pointing out the obvious ideological divide between the seasoned veterans Trump has appointed to head up defense and intelligence, and Steve Bannon, a governmental nihilist bent on dismantling the traditional structure of America:
I know that the President has great respect for these former military people that he has given the most important national security posts. Everybody tells me that Mr. Bannon has his ear constantly. So there is a contradiction within this administration.
It’s only a matter of time before even more Republicans come out and address the elephant in the room — Trump has no idea what he’s doing, and he’s certainly no Reagan.
Watch Axelrod’s exchange with McCain here: