Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday mocked President Obama’s push to expel Russia from the G-8. But the Arizona Republican said just weeks ago, and during his campaign for president in 2008, that Russia should no longer belong to the group of the world’s wealthiest nations, a point that further highlights McCain’s pattern of hypocrisy on the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I’m sure that that has got to reduce Vladimir to tears, that he’s not going to be able to be in the G-8,” Mccain said on Fox News on Tuesday, according to Media Matters. “Take over part of a country and you don’t get to go to the next meeting in some wonderful European capitol.”
But just a few weeks ago, McCain himself was calling on Russia to be expelled from the G-8, telling PBS’s Charlie Rose that he would first sanction Russian officials’ bank accounts and ability to travel — which Obama has done. “Then, obviously, I would look at other areas. You know, throw them out of the G-8, of course. It should be the G-7,” he said.
During the 2008 presidential campaign — before Russia’s invasion of Georgia that same year — McCain said in March that the G-8 should “exclude Russia.” And after Russia’s invasion that August, he said, “The G-8 should become for a while the G-7 until Russia proves that it is capable of being a law-abiding member of the international community.”
This isn’t McCain’s only instance of hypocrisy in his campaign of partisan attacks on Obama throughout the crisis in Ukraine (the Arizona Republican said Obama’s handling of the situation there shows how “feckless” his foreign policy is).
Also during the 2008 presidential campaign, he criticized those who were making Russia’s Georgia invasion a partisan issue.
“This is no time for that,” the GOP presidential nominee said at the time, adding that Americans should be united against Russia. “The time now is for America to — the United States of America to act united on behalf of the people of the country of Georgia, and not do a lot of partisan sniping.”
But it seems like with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, McCain is more interested in attacking Obama than putting forth serious policy positions. Indeed, earlier this month in an interview with the Daily Beast, he called Obama’s threat to expel Russia from the G-8 “laughable,” but in the very same breath, he added that he would do exactly that.
“I think Obama’s threat is laughable,” McCain said. “But I think we ought to do it and every other international gathering of leaders, because the one thing that Putin enjoys is strutting on the international stage.”