“It’s time to wake up,” McCain told midshipmen at the Naval Academy on Monday night, per the Capital Gazette. “I believe in America. We’re capable of better. I’ve seen it. We’re hopeful, compassionate people.”
McCain then lamented the loss of “compromise and principled cooperation.”
“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world,” he said, according to The Hill. “We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake.”
The six-term senator didn’t mention the president by name, but he addressed both Trump’s policies and rhetoric:
“We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”
He also posted that quote on Twitter.
McCain, who graduated from the academy in 1958, became emotional during the speech, thanking the midshipmen for the sacrifices they will be asked to make for those “who won’t be asked to make sacrifices for you,” The Associated Press reported.
He also participated in an extended Q&A session “since we’re not doing anything in the Senate.”