This one is from Greg Sargent at the Washington Post/Plum Line.
John McCain — one of the most respected voices in the Republican Party on national security — was asked a direct question: Are you comfortable with Donald Trump possibly having control of our nuclear arsenal?
This should be a no-brainer, since McCain is supporting Trump for president, a gig that includes having a measure of control over that aforementioned nuclear arsenal.
... [McCain] declined to answer, other than to say: This is on you to figure out, American voters!
That’s not an exaggeration in the least. ...
You can check out Sargent's claims by viewing the video for yourself; Sargent provides the link. But here's the transcript anyway.
QUESTION: Are you comfortable with Donald Trump possibly having control of the nuclear arsenal?
McCAIN: [Silence, followed by unintelligible stammering.] Anyone that the people of this country choose to be the commander in chief and the President of the United States — therefore can lead this country, and will lead in a responsible fashion. Anyone who is elected president fairly in this country. And that’s the way that our democratic system works. That’s how our government works. The American people select the next president of the United States, knowing full well what the role of the commander in chief is. Therefore, I have the utmost respect for the verdict of the people.
The careful listener will have noted that McCain declined to say whether he himself would be comfortable with Trump gaining control of the nuclear arsenal. Instead, he essentially said that the American voters will have to take into account that electing Donald Trump president would bring about that outcome, and added that if the American people went ahead and chose Trump in the full knowledge that this is what they would be doing, then he would respect their verdict.
Let’s pause to consider how devastating this one moment is — or should be — for Trump. The 2008 Republican presidential nominee and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a man who is widely seen as a war hero — who has been tapped by the Sunday shows to hold forth on foreign policy and national security issues probably hundreds of times — declined to say whether he would be comfortable with putting Trump in charge of the maximal destructive power of the American military.
Sargent notes that this is a self-writing ad for the Dems to emphasize Trump's lack of preparedness for the Presidency.
But this moment also captures just how awkward supporting Trump is growing for Republicans — and indeed how reckless it is — as his instability and erratic behavior become more and more evident to everyone. McCain should be a safe incumbent, but he’s facing a potentially tough reelection fight, perhaps in part because Trump’s abusiveness and demagoguery are alienating Latino voters (of which there are many in Arizona) to an untold degree. Trump has repeatedly questioned the war hero status of McCain — “I like people that weren’t captured, okay?” he once said — which has also alarmed Republicans about Trump’s temperament. In recent days, as Trump attacked the family of a Muslim-American killed in combat, that alarm has escalated into widespread GOP panic that the Republican nominee for president is now revealing himself to be deeply, catastrophically unfit for the job.