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McCain: Obama ‘Directly Responsible’ for Orlando Shooting

Sen. John McCain came out on Thursday and said that President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

The Hill reports:

About an hour after making the remarks, McCain backtracked, saying he “misspoke.”

“I did not mean to imply that the president was personally responsible,” McCain said. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the president himself.”

In his initial comments, the Arizona senator claimed Obama was responsible for the shooting because he allowed for the growth of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria during his presidency, ABC News reported.

“Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq,” ABC News said, describing McCain as “visibly angry.”

The comments were notable given they came the day Obama was in Orlando to meet with the families of victims of Sunday’s shooting. They also came days after tough criticism of Obama’s policies from Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
McCain, who lost the presidential race to Obama in 2008, is facing what may be the toughest reelection of his Senate career in a race against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).

Arizona has been a relatively safe state for Republican presidential candidates, but Democrats believe their likely nominee, Hillary Clinton, has a chance of turning it blue. They immediately sought to tie McCain’s comments to Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office called McCain’s comments “unhinged,” saying they are “just the latest proof that Senate Republicans are puppets of Donald Trump.”

“This is the party of Trump,” a release from Reid’s office said, adding there is “no daylight between Senate Republicans and Donald Trump.”

Trump’s campaign also welcomed the comments from McCain, who has battled with Trump in the past.

Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tweeted the headline to the Washington Post article about McCain’s comments, “John McCain: Obama is ‘directly responsible’ for Orlando attack,” along with a link to the article.

After the shooting early Sunday morning, Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said the president either didn’t understand the radical Islamic terrorist threat or he “gets it better than anybody understands.”

“We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said earlier this week.

“And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it, people cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on — it’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a link to an article claiming the president has indirectly supported the ISIS, standing behind his remarks that Obama might sympathize with terrorists.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

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