In what was widely interpreted as a rebuke of white nationalism and the “America first” principles embraced by President Donald Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday warned against the dangers of “half-baked spurious nationalism.”
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” McCain said during his acceptance speech for the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, where he was introduced by former Vice President Joe Biden, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil,” he continued.
McCain was one of the few Republicans to condemn Trump by name for his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, when the president repeatedly blamed both sides for the violence and claimed that there were some “very fine people” among the white nationalists.
There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017
The Arizona senator’s mention of “blood and soil” was a reference to some of the chants used by the white supremacists during the rally.
The event on Monday was dedicated to honoring McCain’s service. Trump has never apologized for claiming the Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war was “not a war hero.”