McCain Uses Tough Talk In Support For Military Spending


In 2015, during his presidential campaign, billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump infamously criticized U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) by stating that he liked people who “weren’t captured.” McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is widely known for his five-and-a-half years as a prisoner-of-war in North Vietnam after being shot down as a naval aviator. When running for Congress in Arizona in the early 1980s, following his retirement from the Navy, the son and grandson of admirals famously fended off charges of carpetbagging by explaining that the longest place he had lived was Hanoi. Having withstood enemy torture while serving his country, Naval Academy graduate John McCain quickly became a modern-day hero.

Trump had attacked Republican royalty, and most pundits thought he was done for. Amazingly, the bombastic reality TV star not only survived, but went on to win the party’s nomination. His feud with McCain continued, and the two have been at odds over issues ranging from immigration to Russo-American relations. It’s no secret that McCain, along with every other Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan, thinks Trump is a buffoon who is unfit for the Oval Office. For his part, Trump probably views McCain as part of the corrupt and ineffective Washington establishment.

But the two conservative titans agree on one thing: Military spending. 

Controversially, President Trump has publicly declared that he wants to boost American military spending by a whopping 10 percent for the next fiscal year, adding $54 billion to the Pentagon’s budget. Since Trump will not increase taxes, the jump in defense spending is intended to be paid for by sharp cuts to civilian federal spending. Outside of federal law enforcement, which gets a similar bump in funding compared to the military, all civilian agencies are expected to “tighten their belts.”

Not surprisingly, Trump’s budget proposal has met with swift condemnation from liberals, who highlight the social programs that will suffer. In fact, few Republicans in Congress have dared praise Trump’s radical budget proposals. Since Trump wants deep civilian cuts across the board, there are few Congressional districts that will not feel the pinch. In Texas, for example, many conservative districts rely on the Department of Agriculture and its programs. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), a usual supporter of Trump, has voiced his concerns with the proposed federal budget.

But a lonely voice is cutting through Washington in support of Trump’s military spending gambit: John McCain himself, Trump’s original GOP nemesis. In fact, McCain feels so strongly that our country needs to boost military spending that he is threatening to shut down the federal government if he needs to. A budget deal must be reached by April 28, and McCain has vowed that he will not vote for any budget that does not increase defense spending.