McCain blasts 'half-baked, spurious nationalism' in Liberty Medal speech

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Senator John McCain got emotional Monday while accepting the Liberty Medal for his decades of public service.  But McCain didn't just offer a “thank you” speech. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Senator John McCain got emotional Monday while accepting the Liberty Medal for his decades of public service. But McCain didn't just offer a “thank you” speech. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Senator John McCain got emotional Monday while accepting the Liberty Medal for his decades of public service.

But McCain didn't just offer a “thank you” speech. He also blasted President Trump's foreign policy.

McCain criticized "half-baked, spurious nationalism" as “unpatriotic.” Spurious means misleading or fake.

Senator McCain did not call out the President by name in his 11-minute speech, but there was little doubt among the crowd in Philadelphia McCain was referring to the Trump White House and its "America First" policy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden presented Arizona's senior senator with the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal, adding McCain to a list of recipients that includes past presidents, the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali and more.

In his speech, McCain said he was grateful to have served the U.S. for 60 years and he argued the U.S. has a moral obligation to champion its ideals abroad.

He said America should continue to lead globally after doing so for three-quarters of a century, and then launched an indirect swipe at Trump.

"To refuse the obligation for 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," he said, pausing for the crowd's applause, "is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history."

McCain added, "We live in a land of ideals, not blood and soil," an apparent reference to the Neo-Nazi chant in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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