John McCain has been one of Donald Trump’s most prominent critics – largely since Trump attacked McCain during the presidential campaign.
McCain has fired again after the Syrian missile attack.
Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday the Trump administration is at least partly to blame for Syria using chemical weapons against its own people.
“I think it probably was partially to blame. And Secretary [Rex] Tillerson basically saying the same thing after kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy,” the Arizona senator said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “As I said, again, taking this action I support and was important.”
McCain said the Trump administration needs to have a more concrete strategy in dealing with Syria and shouldn’t treat Thursday’s U.S. missile strikes as a “one-time deal.” He emphasized that just going after chemical weapons ignores how large a problem Syria has become.
McCain also rejected a statement by Tillerson that the U.S. needs to prioritize defeating the Islamic State in Syria before trying to stabilize the country. McCain said the U.S must also be concerned about other reported war crimes by the Assad regime, such as using barrel bombs and starving thousands of prisoners.
There have been many atrocities in Syria during the ongoing civil war – but it’s far more than a civil war, with a lot of international meddling.
“So there’s a lot of war crimes that are taking place. And another aspect of this that I do not agree with the secretary is that you have to just concentrate on ISIS,” McCain said. “We can walk and chew gum.”
McCain is not the only one who appears to reject Tillerson’s advice, with very mixed messages continuing.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has told CNN that removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power is a priority, cementing an extraordinary U-turn in the Trump administration’s stance on the embattled leader.
Two days after the US launched military strikes on a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack widely blamed on the Assad regime, Haley said Assad’s departure was inevitable.
But before Tuesday’s chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed 89 people, Haley had said toppling Assad was not a priority. President Donald Trump, before his election, described fighting ISIS and seeking Assad’s removal at the same time as “idiocy.”
Claims of idiocy have morphed into actual confused flip flip idiocy.