On Monday night in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center honored Senator John McCain with their 2017 Liberty Medal. Vice President Joe Biden made the official presentation to the longtime senator.
Afterward came his acceptance speech. Senator McCain, a decorated war veteran and former P.O.W., took the opportunity to speak on patriotism.
He accused U.S. leadership of promoting “spurious nationalism” over international obligations. McCain also condemned the neo-Nazi rallying cry of "blood and soil" stating “we live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.”
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.”
The Arizona Republican's remarks came after a program celebrating his life of service to the military and Congress. During his speech he spoke fondly of his over 40 years of friendship with Vice President Biden.
Senator John McCain joked about finishing at the bottom of his class but later earning his party's presidential nomination. He spoke of the privilege of his over 60 years of service "to this wondrous land". His voice wavered with emotion at some points. He ended with a blessing for America and a call to action.
May God bless America, and give us the strength and wisdom, the generosity and compassion, to do our duty for this wondrous land, and for the world that counts on us. With all its suffering and dangers, the world still looks to the example and leadership of America to become, another, better place. What greater cause could anyone ever serve."
There has been no response yet from President Trump, who previously stated Senator McCain was a "loser". In the same C-SPAN televised appearance he said McCain was "not a war hero". Trump stated he liked "people that weren't captured".