By Alana Abramson
October 17, 2017

Senator John McCain, echoing the sentiments of his Monday night speech in Philadelphia, said Tuesday that he is worried the United States is reverting to the nationalistic tendencies that characterized the 1930s.

Asked about his speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia Monday, McCain declined to elaborate on whether his criticism of nationalism includes President Trump.

“What I was talking about is an environment here of … a reversion of the attitude to the ’30s, which was one of the major reasons we fought World War II,” McCain told reporters at the Capitol.

In that speech, McCain did not mention President Trump or anyone in his Administration by name. But, after discussing his years of service, he implicitly seemed to invoke criticism of the White House, slamming what he called “some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

This ideology, he continued is “as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

When Trump was asked about McCain’s speech on Tuesday, he seemed to assume the rhetoric was lodged at the White House.

“People have to be careful because at some point I fight back,” Trump said in a radio interview on WMAL Tuesday when asked about the speech. “I’m being very nice but at some point I’ll fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com.

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