The former presidential candidate, who is battling brain cancer, said that his current term is his last, allowing him to open up about the current political climate.
“This is my last term. If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion,” he wrote. “I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry.”
A Republican who has nonetheless battled President Trump in many cases, McCain was unsparing of the Commander in Chief in the book.
“He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones. The appearance of toughness, or a reality show facsimile of toughness, seems to matter more than any of our values.”
That was among the milder rebukes. On refugees, McCain said the way the president speaks about them “is appalling, as though welfare or terrorism were the only purposes they could have in coming to our country.”
McCain also likened Trump’s use of the term “fake news” to authoratarian governments. “His reaction to unflattering news stories, calling them ‘fake news’ whether they’re credible or not, is copied by autocrats who want to discredit and control a free press,” McCain writes.
In one excerpt, McCain said that he’s “not sure what to make of President Trump’s convictions.”
“He threatened to deliberately kill the spouses and children of terrorists, implying that an atrocity of that magnitude would show the world America’s toughness.”
McCain claimed he wants to see the nation’s politics “return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history” and says, “you’re damn right, I’m a champion of compromise.”
“I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different,” he wrote. “We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it.”
McCain, 81, has been recovering at his home in Arizona since late last year, but occasionally appears in Washington.
“‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell Tolls,” McCain wrote. “And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”