Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he's "leaning against" backing Rep. Mick Mulvaney to head the Office of Management and Budget because of his continuing stance against military funding increases and his call to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
"When I asked him about his vote to remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan — by the way, I remind you where Osama bin Laden used to hang out — and his answer was because he ran into one angry constituent who was a veteran, that's the reason why he voted to pull all our troops out of Afghanistan. That's a lapse of judgment in my part," the Arizona senator told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
During Tuesday's confirmation hearings before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCain questioned Mulvaney, R-S.C., about the votes to pull troops from Afghanistan and Europe, reports The Hill.
The veteran Arizona senator also accused Mulvaney during the hearing of not supporting the military "with the seriousness that it deserves."
On Wednesday, McCain said he's "very, very worried" Mulvaney will "continue his efforts to slash the military, which has been cut by 21 percent in the last eight years. I don't think any of us believe that we're 21 percent safer."
McCain said he was also frustrated with Mulvaney's pro-government shutdown record in years past.
"Shutting down the government is not what the American people want us to do," McCain said.
"Those that favored the shutdown of the government did not appreciate the impact on the lives of average Americans, whether it be the memorial down here or places around the Grand Canyon or all over America. So I just think it's a failure on our part, all of us, when we do shut down the government."
McCain said he does plan to vote for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, "because I believe presidents should be given the benefit of the doubt, but that doesn't mean that we abandon our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.
"So it's a fine line, I will admit, but we have to, in my view, particularly on national security issues, including authorizations for the use of military force and others, reassert our constitutional role of advise and consent, recognizing the president is the commander-in-chief.
On Wednesday, McCain doubled down on his position that President Donald Trump's decision to sign an executive order removing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement was "terrible."
"A year ago I was in Singapore, and asked the prime minister of Singapore, one of the wisest men in Asia, what would happen if we abandon TPP, and he says it's simple, you'll be finished in Asia," said the senator.
"The Chinese are now negotiating trade agreements. They are now exerting their influence in ways which a few years ago we would never have thought, including this issue of militarizing these islands, in gross violation of all international law.
"So I hope that [Defense Secretary] Gen. [James] Mattis who's widely respected, will go over there and give our friends and allies some courage, but it's also a part of the world that's in turmoil."
McCain also spoke against reports that Trump plans to sign an order to review a black site detention program allowing enhanced interrogation, as the use of torture, including waterboarding is prohibited by law.
"We can look at the Army field manual and might make changes, but it doesn't mean those changes can allow a return to torture," said McCain, a former POW. "I'm happy that General Mattis has spoken out against it, as has every — General [David] Petraeus, you name them.
"Any military leader you respect have said we should not torture people, and I'm very confident that it wouldn't stand a day in court if they tried to restore that."
McCain on Wednesday also said he has his doubts on Trump's call for a wall along the Mexican border.
"Walls can be easily breached, but I believe through the use of drones, through the use of towers that we are building on the Arizona border are very effective," said McCain.
"We do have a real severe serious problem with this Mexican manufactured heroin which is coming across our border, in the view of some an epidemic and killing lots of people, so we need to really focus a lot of attention on that."
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