President Trump's positive statements about Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and past praise for Russia President Vladimir Putin are a stark departure from American values, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday.
McCain said on MSNBC that Trump's praise for strongmen and dictators goes against everything the Republican Party, as shaped by Ronald Reagan, stands for.
"It's very disturbing … because we are proud Republicans and we stand for human rights," he said.
Trump said in interviews last week that Kim was a "smart cookie" and said he'd be honored to meet him and invited Duterte to the White House. Kim has murdered family members and dissenters with anti-aircraft guns and other assassinations, while Duterte is infamous for killing drug users and being open to the murder of journalists. He also called President Obama a "son of a whore."
In the past, Trump has also praised el-Sissi, who is widely seen as an anti-democratic strongman in Egypt.
McCain said Trump has done some good things in office, such as the missile strike ordered at a Syrian air base and the assembly of his national security team, but he can't abide by Trump's praise for men like Kim, Duterte, el-Sissi and Putin.
"The statements and the comments obviously fly in the face of everything I stood for and I've believed in all my life," he said.