Despite their many differences in policy, Republican and Democratic administrations have always had one thing in common. They both stood by and supported the United States’ allies and, despite whichever party was in power, none of the United States’ allies had reason to question whether the U.S. was committed to them. Trump, however, is different. His isolationist rhetoric has some questioning whether he supports NATO or other U.S. allies. In an effort to reassure America’s allies, Sen. John McCain(R-Az) spoke at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy where he praised Italy for their continued support of the U.S. and tried to reassure them and other U.S. allies that the country is not going to abandon them.
In his address, McCain was not shy about openly blaming Trump for the instability that has emerged in recent months.
‘I realize that I come to Italy at a time when many are questioning whether America is still committed to remaining engaged in the world, to upholding our traditional alliances, and standing up for the values we share. I also realize—and there is no point in avoiding a little straight talk here—that this doubt has much to do with some of the actions and statements of our President.’
McCain also said that, despite what Twitter might show, the majority of Americans remain committed to international alliances and more open trade policies than those that Trump supports.
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‘This is why I have come to this forum: to tell you that I believe that Italy, and our other NATO allies and European partners, can still count on America.
‘Put simply, my friends: I believe bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-alliances, pro-trade, pro-investment, pro-military, pro-globalization, in favor of an internationalist foreign policy, and supportive of our transatlantic alliance. It may not look that way on Twitter, but that is what opinion polls clearly show, time after time after time.’
Despite his optimistic message, McCain did admit that there was a debate raging as to America’s role in the world and he was unsure how it would play out.
‘It is true that there is a real debate underway now in my country about what kind of role America should play in the world. And frankly, I do not know how this debate will play out. What I do believe, and I do not think I am exaggerating here, is that the future of the world will turn, to a large extent, on how this debate in America is resolved.’
McCain also advised those who do not live in the U.S. to focus less on who is in the Oval Office and more on the people of the United States. He cited the examples of Heather Hayer and those who volunteered to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as the best of America.
‘This is America at its best—ordinary people, despite long odds, rising to master moments of extraordinary challenge, powered by their belief in that most simple and audacious of ideas—that all people are created equal.’
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McCain’s speech was cautiously optimistic extolling the virtues of America while cautioning that certain segments of society, including perhaps the president, wanted to lead the country down a road that was not in its or the world’s best interests.