GOP hopes foreign travel gets Trump back on track

Republican lawmakers were hopeful Monday that President Trump’s first overseas trip would help the White House get back on track after a tumultuous two weeks that saw Trump fire FBI Director James Comey, which prompted the Justice Department to establish an independent counsel to probe Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

A group of lawmakers have praised Trump’s trip thus far, especially his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday when he called on the Muslim world to help combat Islamic extremism in the Middle East. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a noted critic of the president, said Monday that he has been encouraged by the trip.

“As far as I can see, it’s been very successful,” McCain told reporters at the Capitol before bashing the Obama administration for the “chaos” it left behind.

“It’s interesting, the warmth with which he was greeted is a testimony to the absolute failure of the Obama administration,” McCain said. “And basically their alienation of these countries, whether it be Israel or whether it be any of the Middle Eastern countries, and their sense of alienation is totally justified. We have a world in chaos thanks to leading from behind.”

McCain also said he hopes and believes the trip could help the president turn things around after a fraught two weeks, during which he said that the saga surrounding Trump and Comey had reached a “Watergate size and scale.” McCain walked back that statement on Monday.

“I think, yes, I have reason to believe,” McCain said before taking yet another shot at the Obama foreign policy team. “Particularly with a national security team that President Trump has around him rather than some failed songwriter,” he said, referring to former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., another Trump critic, said Monday that while he hadn’t seen what happened during Trump’s stop in Israel, he thought the Sunday speech was a positive step for the White House and administration.

“I thought the speech was a decent…

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