Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took aim at the current political environment, including apparent veiled swipes at President Trump, during a speech on Monday night.
“We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions,” McCain said at the Brigade of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman added that “we have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”
McCain, who is battling brain cancer, didn’t directly name Trump during his speech, which was largely focused on serving the country. But his remarks mirrored some of his criticism of the administration and a strain of nationalism embodied by Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
Comparing the current state of nation to the early 1990s, which he described as “hopeful,” the 81-year-old senator argued that it was “time to wake up.”
“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world. We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake,” McCain said.
He also referenced one of Trump’s campaign mantras, “America first,” as he detailed the lessons learned from the rise of fascism and World War II.
“Our failure to remain engaged in Europe and enforce the hard-won peace of 1918 had made that clear. There could be no more isolationism, no more tired resignation — no more ‘America First,'” McCain said.
McCain’s remarks on Monday night come after he warned of “half-baked, spurious nationalism” during a speech in Philadelphia earlier this month.