WASHINGTON — It became a mantra for John McCain in the months around Donald Trump’s improbable electoral win: “I’m not talking about Trump. I’m not talking about Trump. I’m not talking about Trump,” he chanted to inquiring reporters in December.
McCain’s reticence is gone.
The veteran Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee has taken an unusual role as the new president’s highest-profile Republican critic, his pointed pushback keeping stride with the dizzying pace of controversies Trump has set in his first two weeks.
McCain has publicly challenged Trump on refugees and immigration — saying the action may do more to recruit terrorists than beef up national security — as well as on the issues of torture, Russia, and trade. Trump has shot back, accusing McCain of “looking to start World War III.”
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