- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2017

Three months after his inauguration, President Trump has shifted positions on Syria, China and other key issues — and Sen. John McCain said Sunday he hopes it’s because the “Washington establishment” has gotten into the president’s ear.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had a simple answer when asked if Mr. Trump has been sucked in by establishment forces.

“I hope so,” the Arizona Republican said. “On national security, I do believe he has assembled a strong team and very appropriately he is listening to them.”

Throughout the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump decried any U.S. involvement in Syria. But two weeks ago, he ordered airstrikes against a Syrian air base after the country’s president, Bashar Assad, unleashed a chemical weapons attack.

On China, Mr. Trump repeatedly vowed to label the country a currency manipulator. Last week, he said he would do such thing, and on Sunday he tweeted that he would not make such a designation because he needs China’s help to deal with North Korea.

Other foreign policy shifts also suggest Mr. Trump is returning to a more traditional Republican foreign policy, not the groundbreaking approach he embraced during the campaign.

But on the Middle East, Mr. McCain says he doesn’t believe the White House has developed a comprehensive strategy.

“We’ve got to have a strategy,” the senator said. “I’ll give them some more time, but so far that strategy is not apparent.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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