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McCain Offers Rebuke of Trump in Liberty Medal Speech

by Countable | 10.17.17

What’s the story?

Monday night Arizona Republican Senator John McCain was awarded the Liberty Medal by former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In his acceptance speech he denounced the "spurious nationalism" that has overtaken the country and those who would rather find “scapegoats than solve problems.”

Though he did not mention President Trump by name, critics and supporters agreed the president was the focus of his remarks and had strong reactions.

Here is an excerpt of Biden’s introduction:

And here is an excerpt of his most pointed words, seemingly directed at the president and the current administration:

Former President Bill Clinton honored Sen. McCain, calling his a "true American hero":

Former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich praised Sen. McCain for his words and his service:

Former President Barack Obama also congratulated McCain:

But Fox News commentator Sean Hannity was less impressed, focusing his attention on McCain’s predicted moves on the Republican budget:

Former congressman and political pundit Joe Walsh challenged McCain and argued he’s been in office too long:

And the president, as reported by the Associated Press, warned Sen. McCain that he will "fight back."

What do you think?

Was McCain’s speech an inspiring repudiation of the current administration or a betrayal of his conservative constituents? Was he talking about white nationalism and not the president? Must his words be followed by further action in order for them to really matter, or do the words alone matter in the present political moment? If you disagree with McCain’s opinion, why do you disagree?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

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(58)
  • Michael.J.L
    10/17/2017
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    Senator McCain is saying what all GOP and Democratic Senators and Congressmen/women should be saying. Even though he didn't mention Trump by name it was obvious who he meant.

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  • Barb
    10/17/2017
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    Bravo to John McCain for saying what every legislator in Washington knows to be true. A nationalistic toxic bully is in the White House. He has removed one protection after another just because of spite. He is like a 12 year old schoolyard bully whose daddy is mayor. His sidekick bannon is even worse. It is time to take back our country and our democracy from these nasty bullies. McCain knows the truth. Too bad he is not joined by others in government.

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  • William
    10/17/2017
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    I didn’t vote for Senator McCain, but I’ve always admired him (in spite of that Palin faux pas). I was a Navy brat and saw up close and first hand the sacrifices the vets and their families made - and still make. I agree wholeheartedly with the content of Senator McCain’s speech; but I fear we no longer live in the country that produced men like the senator; we live in the land of Trump and Bannon.

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  • Troy
    10/17/2017
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    If he want to be a liberal fine, just wish he would stop trying to pass himself off as a conservative. You can't have it both ways.

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  • Martha
    10/17/2017
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    John McCain was right on in his speech at the Liberty Medal Ceremony. I have faith that he will follow up with actions as he has shown himself capable of doing in the recent health care hearings. My hope is that there are several more Republicans in Congress who will begin to behave like statesmen instead of blindly following 45 and his cohorts on this path to tear up our Constitution along with everything that our country has stood for since its founding.

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  • Scott
    10/17/2017
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    John McCain is dead on right! Democrats need to stand fast to this hijacking of our democracy and begin strong arming or whatever has to be done to get this administration removed asap...

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  • Murphy
    10/17/2017
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    Once a traitor always a traitor...Songbird McCain.

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  • Peter
    10/18/2017
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    Here’s the twilight of a once great politician. Like state department officers, they’re not willing to make tough decisions before they are off to the next evaluation and job. Americans deserve full time representatives. John McCain’s next evaluation job, if you will, is securing “his legacy” not the business of his constituents in AZ. His legacy,like Feinstein, and Pelosi, makes the argument for term limits.

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  • Richard
    10/18/2017
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    McCain is again being antagonistic toward our president which is not becoming of a former military man nor hood for the USA. Obama’s had no clue what a Commander in Chief stood for but thank the lord we now have a President who knows his role. It’s time for McCain to retire and heal himself. I don’t think he’s speaking with a clear mind. Otherwise I’d view him as a Judas within the GOP. It’s time the President corrects all the mistakes of past administrations, especially the last 8 years, and give the working middle class the break they deserve.

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  • Jon
    10/18/2017
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    McCain is among only a few that dares to push back on Trump.....thank God for this man. How much can you all take before we get rid of the ignorant power broker?

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  • Steven
    10/18/2017
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    There’s a reason McCain didn’t get elected president he was a Democrat in sheep’s clothing. What he did when he was younger was distinguishable. What is done is it since he’s been older not so much.

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  • John
    10/17/2017
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    McCain is an idiot and not a hero. A true RINO!

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  • Andy
    10/18/2017
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    I shouldn’t even need to say this preamble, but here goes: John McCain is a hero for his service to this great nation. Donald Trump is not the greatest thing to happen to America since Abraham Lincoln and should be called out when he is in error. That said, McCain needs to either denounce the Republican name and change his affiliation or step down from office. He does not represent conservative constituents and their values, nor has he since at least 2008.

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  • Christine
    10/17/2017
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    Senator McCain is once again a hero. When are his Republican colleagues going to check djt? Please keep encouraging them to do so.

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  • Catherine
    10/17/2017
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    John McCain is a true hero. Our representatives should be doing what is best for the country not just their party. He stood up against a horrible bill that would have cost millions their health insurance and now he's calling out Trump on his terrible policies. Thank you for your courage!

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  • Aimee
    10/18/2017
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    GOP glad that someone in your party actually has a backbone to speak against your president’s irrational behavior. Thank you John McCain for speaking out.

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  • Wyoming4178
    10/17/2017
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    Senator John McCain is a truly great American. I don’t care which party your aligned with. In the United States senate he respect the institution and what he has seen the last 9 months. He couldn’t take anymore it was like a pressure cooker it blew up. When your President acts child with little respect for the office. Thank You Senator John McCain for the great speech it needed to be said.

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  • Azrael
    10/17/2017
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    McCain is correct Open your ears and listen The same instructions, to listen and act appropriately, we’re given to a general a long time ago He didn’t listen General Custer had his last stand

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  • Cary
    10/18/2017
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    I may not be President Trumps biggest fan.... but I have no tolerance for McCain.

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  • Vanessa
    10/18/2017
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    What a Great man Senator McCain is! He had my vote until Palin flew her broom into the picture. I wish he was our President now..

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