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McCain denounces 'spurious nationalism' in thinly veiled shot at Bannon

 (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain, who has sparred repeatedly with President Trump and his former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, issued a thinly veiled attack Monday, denouncing as "unpatriotic" what he described as "spurious nationalism."

The Arizona senator, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, did not mention either Bannon or Trump by name, but his brief speech accepting the 2017 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia left little doubt that he was targeting the "America first" nationalism that Bannon helped instill in Trump's campaign and White House.

"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 is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said.

"We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil," he added. "We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to."

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