Washington, DC–Seeking to further distance himself from an embattled President Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated at a press conference over the weekend that he “strongly condemns the KKK, white supremacists, and all Nazis that are not in the Ukrainian government.”*
The sweeping condemnation extended to all of the leading groups that participated in the Charlottesville “Unite The Right” demonstrations, which quickly devolved into violence and ultimately led to the tragic death of one counter-protester.
McCain exempted members of the Ukrainian government from his comments in an apparent effort to remain consistent with his past actions and statements on Ukraine. McCain publicly supported the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and then supported arming the side of the new government in the civil war, even though it was well-known this would mean supporting neo-Nazi paramilitary forces on the front lines.
Likewise, this past June, McCain met with Andriy Parubiy, the current Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament who has been directly associated with neo-Nazi groups in the past. Parubiy previously founded a fascist political party called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, which restricted membership to ethnic Ukrainians and used an apparent derivative of the Nazi Wolfsangel as its logo. After the recent meeting, McCain tweeted out that he had a “good meeting” with Parubiy, and that he’d always “stand for free & prosperous Ukraine”.
This past support for Ukrainian neo-Nazis likely accounts for McCain’s strangely nuanced denunciation. But it still raised some eyebrows among reporters that were unfamiliar with McCain’s past decisions.
Many reporters were surprised to discover that a venerable figure in US politics would be supportive of such an odious ideology, even in a foreign country.
But when pressed on the matter, McCain offered two compelling arguments in defense of his conduct.
First, he cited a variant of the widely-accepted foreign policy adage, saying that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend even if he’s a Nazi.” In Ukraine, McCain argued the US had to support such groups in order to exact a cost on Russia.
Second, McCain noted that he routinely aligns himself with dubious ideologies that are nearly as repulsive as Ukraine’s neo-Nazis.
This would be an outlandish claim for most Americans and even many US politicians. But in McCain’s case, The Daily Face Palm can confirm that it checks out. In recent years, McCain has met with members of the Northern Storm Brigade in Syria, an opposition group with self-proclaimed jihadists that was credibly accused of kidnapping and selling American Steven Sotloff to ISIS. McCain has also spoken favorably of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a cultish extremist group that seeks to overthrow the Iranian government.
In the end, most reporters at the press conference appeared satisfied with McCain’s justification and resolved to write another boilerplate column praising America’s Maverick.
*This is a satirical post. The summary of McCain’s support for repulsive groups in Ukraine and elsewhere is legitimate. However, the press conference and nuanced condemnation discussed above is fictional.