John McCain Condemns “Half-Baked Spurious Nationalism” at Medal Ceremony

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.”

In what was widely interpreted as a rebuke of white nationalism and the “America first” principles embraced by President Donald Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday warned against the dangers of “half-baked spurious nationalism.”

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” McCain said during his acceptance speech for the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, where he was introduced by former Vice President Joe Biden, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil,” he continued.

McCain was one of the few Republicans to condemn Trump by name for his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, when the president repeatedly blamed both sides for the violence and claimed that there were some “very fine people” among the white nationalists.

The Arizona senator’s mention of “blood and soil” was a reference to some of the chants used by the white supremacists during the rally.

The event on Monday was dedicated to honoring McCain’s service. Trump has never apologized for claiming the Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war was “not a war hero.” 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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