McCain Tears Into Trump For Congratulating Putin

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend