Corker says he 'loved' McCain's speech, gave him a 'big hug'

McCain blasts 'half-baked' nationalism
McCain blasts 'half-baked' nationalism

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Story highlights

  • Sen. John McCain gave a speech in Philadelphia critical of Donald Trump
  • Sen. Bob Corker has become the Senate's latest outspoken Republican critic

Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Bob Corker said he "loved" a speech given by Sen. John McCain that was widely seen as a sharp critique of policies espoused by President Donald Trump.

"Well the pieces that I saw, I loved, and I gave him a big hug on the floor," Corker told reporters when asked about the remarks. "It's a great speech."
McCain was honored Monday night with the Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In his speech, he cautioned against abandoning "the ideals we have advanced around the globe" in exchange for "some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."
    While McCain did not name the President or his advisers, McCain targeted the "America First" principles that Trump has used throughout this candidacy and presidency.
    For his part, Corker has become the Senate's latest outspoken Republican critic of Trump and his policies. In recent weeks, the senator from Tennessee has called the White House an "adult day care center," argued that Trump was paving the path to "World War III," and declared that a trio of Trump's senior administration officials and Cabinet members were responsible for preventing the country from collapsing into "chaos."
    Trump, responding to McCain's speech Tuesday morning, said in a radio interview that "people have to be careful because at some point I fight back."
    "I'm being very nice," Trump added. "I'm being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back and it won't be pretty."
    Asked Tuesday on Capitol Hill if McCain was referring to the President in his speech, the longtime senator said, "No, I was referring to the whole atmosphere and environment."
    McCain added that he was referring to those who advocated the theme of "America First."
    "There are a whole lot of people besides the President who say America First," he said.