President Trump’s sudden announcements to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and dramatically reduce combat forces in Afghanistan have Republicans wondering who will fill the void left by the late John McCain, a prominent authority on national security willing to speak for the nation’s military commanders.
McCain’s absence was strongly felt last week when Trump unexpectedly announced his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. While there was general pushback in the Senate, some observers said the GOP’s criticism of the commander in chief did not match the authoritative voice of McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
“We miss his voice and his actions,” said John Weaver, a longtime political adviser to McCain. “Can you imagine if John was still the chairman of the Armed Services Committee? It would have been rather dramatic.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Armed Services panel, is one of Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, and the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), often defers to the president — at least compared to retiring panel chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
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