Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took a sharp dig at President Trump in an op-ed published Thursday night urging Congress to take respectful action when lawmakers reconvene from recess next week.
“Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” the 2008 Republican presidential nominee wrote in the Washington Post.
“We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him,” McCain cautioned. “But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.”
The larger point of the op-ed was to make a call for Republican leadership to return Congress to “regular order.” He urged a more bottom-up approach to legislating, letting committees draft bills and the full Senate amend them before the final vote.
That would stand in stark contrast to how the GOP handled its push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. In a dramatic late-night vote, McCain and Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, cast the decisive votes to sink the repeal legislation, which was being rapidly pushed through Congress by party leaders.
Trump and McCain have had a tumultuous relationship for some time. During his 2016 campaign, Trump infamously dismissed McCain’s widely heralded war record, and the veteran Arizona lawmaker repeatedly took issue with Trump’s inflammatory remarks.
McCain was among the Republicans who withdrew support from Trump’s candidacy last year after the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the celebrity business mogul could be heard boasting about groping and forcibly touching women.
McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will return to the Senate next week, his office said. He underwent treatments for brain cancer during the August recess. The Associated Press reported that he’s expected to lead a Senate debate on defense-policy legislation.
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