(Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC)

Maverick Alert! On last night’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stopped by to drop some of that legendary McCain independent wisdom and political courage, as he explained why he’s boldly spoken out against Donald Trump’s bafflingly awful nominees and policies—while voting in favor of them pretty much every single time. (Some 92.5 per cent of the time, according to the record.) Brushing by the topic like the army of reporters and camera crews he regularly gives those maverick statements to, McCain essentially blames his reputation as “a good quote” on the fact that reporters keep asking him questions, essentially.

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Meyers, who introduced frequent guest McCain as “a friend of the program,” is a noted, regular, and vocal critic of Trump, which made for a touch of awkwardness throughout, as he attempted to prod McCain toward some of those maverick criticisms of the whole Trump-Russia scandal, Trump’s Twitter rants, and, as McCain admits, the fact that, a lot of the time, the president is, ahem, “distracted.” Repeating several times what an outstanding national security team he claims Trump has assembled, McCain, as delicately as possible, concedes, “I see him do things or say things that—he isn’t listening to them.” Which, yikes.

Meyers, to his credit, challenged McCain—respectfully—on his claim that world leaders didn’t have a lot of respect for the last president. (McCain cited Trump’s immediate but ineffectual and reckless bombing of a Syrian airfield as proof of how his leadership is impressing the hell out of everybody.) And Meyers also prodded noted military hawk McCain on Trump’s proposed budget, that not only doesn’t give the armed forces what they need (in McCain’s estimation), but also seeks massive cuts to programs that the poor, the sick, and children desperately depend on. “It’s dead on arrival,” pronounced McCain, emphatically and repeatedly. He also took idiots to task for believing that whole “Pizzagate” bullshit that caused one such idiot to shoot up a restaurant, essentially lecturing Trump’s base to not “believe everything you see on the internet.” And he asserted the need for Trump to make human rights around the world a bigger priority than it’s been so far. Maverick words all. It remains to be seen, however, if, going forward, the senator will take action against more than 7.5 per cent of the things in Trump’s agenda that he finds so objectionable.

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