Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain said Sunday he occasionally regrets voting for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and argued further that Tillerson does not hold to the same American values.
In an interview on CBS Sunday, McCain said that he sometimes regrets backing Tillerson.
“Sometimes I do,” McCain said. “But, I’m still torn by the fact that the American people chose this president, and he ought to be able to have this team.”
During the interview, John Dickerson, host of “Face the Nation,” played a clip of Tillerson musing to reporters Friday after President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S., unlike Russia, may have the wrong approach to Syria.
“And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same,” Tillerson said. “How we get there, we each have a view. But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences. So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps. And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand. Maybe they’ve got the right approach, and we’ve got the wrong approach.”
McCain expressed irritation over Tillerson’s statement and emphasized the barbarity of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which he learned about in part based on his conversations with the White Helmets, a large group of Syrians engaged in humanitarian action. McCain also argued that Tillerson’s comments place him far outside the Republican tradition of President Ronald Reagan.
The Assad regime has accused the White Helmets of having ties to al-Qaida.
“Look, I agonized over voting for or against Tillerson for secretary of state,” McCain said. “Not that I didn’t admire his success and all the great things he’s done. But the things that he’d said in the past. He has divorced a fundamental of American democracy. The reason why we are the shining city on the hill, as Ronald Reagan used to say, is because they look up to us because of our principles, and our beliefs, and our advocacy of freedom for freedom. That’s what America’s supposed to be all about. Not whether they’re right and we’re wrong.”
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