The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the 2008 Republican nominee for president blasted former national security adviser retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and the capability of President Donald Trump’s national security team in a Tuesday statement.
“General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia, including statements by the President suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our NATO allies, and attempted interference in American elections,” said Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.).
“American policy toward Russia must be made clear and unequivocal: we will honor our commitments to our NATO allies, we will maintain and enhance our deterrent posture in Europe, we will hold Russian violators of human rights accountable for their actions, and we will maintain sanctions on Russia so long as it continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.
In his Monday resignation letter to the president Flynn said, “As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard-fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.”
At the same time the White House announced Flynn’s resignation, it also announced that Flynn’s chief of staff at the National Security Council, retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg, is filling in for Flynn as the acting National Security Adviser.
Kellogg is a former commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division and was the director of the Pentagon’s Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Directorate and was a senior leader in the Coalition Provisonal Authority in Iraq. He retired from the Army in 2003.
McCain said he still respects Flynn and his service.
“I thank General Flynn for his many years of distinguished service to our country, especially his invaluable contributions in the fight against terrorism,” the senator said. “I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
“At the same time, General Flynn’s resignation is a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus,” he said.
“It is imperative that the President select a new National Security Advisor who is empowered by clear lines of authority and responsibility and possesses the skills and experience necessary to organize the national security system across our government,” he said.
McCain said he wants to keep working with the president and his team, especially Defense Secretary James Mattis.