There’s a good reason why Vladimir Putin’s election win was met with silence from most prominent world leaders, particularly in the West. Aside from the fact that Russia’s Election Commission barred popular opposition leader Alexei Navalny, it’s hardly a secret that Russian elections are plagued with widespread voter fraud.
Regardless, during a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday, President Trump boasted of a call he made to the authoritarian leader — now Russia’s second longest-tenured, right behind Josef Stalin — congratulating him on his win.
The move likely didn’t sit well with many prominent Republicans, whether or not they will choose to speak out. Hardly one to refrain from publicly criticizing the president however, John McCain released a statement tearing Trump a new one. The 81-year-old Senator slammed the phone call as an insult to “every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future.”
“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain said.
“And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”
McCain’s sentiments should hardly come as a surprise. Last month he accused House Republicans of “doing Putin’s job for him” with the release of the Nunes memo.