John McCain: Barack Obama Is “Directly Responsible” for the Orlando Massacre (Multiple Updates)

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2016

John McCainI can’t decide if the Washington Post was being sarcastic when it described Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as an “elder Republican statesman.” But if that’s supposed to be some kind of honorific, it’s just one more indication of what statesmanship means in today’s GOP:

McCain made his remarks in a Senate hallway to a small group of reporters, responding to a question about the gun-control debate that has flared on Capitol Hill since the Sunday-morning shooting that left 49 clubgoers and the gunman dead.

He answered the question about the gun debate by citing Obama’s culpability for the attack through his foreign policy.

“Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures,” McCain said.

He also adopted Trump’s “I called it” line when pressed by reporters:

“He pulled everybody out of Iraq, and I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked, and there would be attacks on the United States of America,” he said. “It’s a matter of record, so he is directly responsible.”

Update: Moments ago, McCain tweeted this out:

That doesn’t match his direct statements to reporters: “Barack Obama is directly responsible for it.” His statements to reporters were pretty unambiguous. So I’m gonna call bullshit on this “clarification.”

Update: Buzfeed’s Tarini Parti has more:

“When he pulled everybody out of Iraq, then al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS and ISIS were the ones responsible for these attacks. So it’s directly at the doorstep of President Obama, and I intend to tell every American I know about it.”

Update Again:

The full statement:

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today clarifying his earlier remarks regarding President Obama and the Orlando attack:

“I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the President himself. As I have said, President Obama’s decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of ISIL. I and others have long warned that the failure of the President’s policy to deny ISIL safe haven would allow the terrorist organization to inspire, plan, direct or conduct attacks on the United States and Europe as they have done in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino and now Orlando.”

I don’t see “I apologize” to anyone — the President, victims’ families, survivors, the LGBT community, Orlando — anywhere in that statement.

Ben in oakland

June 16th, 2016

McCain conveniently forgets who got us into the Middle East in the first place, and who cheered him on, and on and on and on and on.

What an asshole– and I don’t mean to malign a perfectly useful orifice.


June 16th, 2016

Yes, by McCain’s logic, George W. Bush is directly, directly responsible for it.

Priya Lynn

June 16th, 2016

This is a standard Republican lie. It was George Bush who signed the status of forces agreement that required the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Some less dishonest Republicans have admitted that but falsely claimed Obama could have reached an agreement to leave U.S. forces behind – the Iraqi government was explicit in rejecting that possibility.


June 16th, 2016

lol, I love your choice of angry bird picture for McCain, Jim.


June 16th, 2016

There’s no doubt that Bush broke the Middle East (and a penumbra of other nations) and left an incredible clusterf*ck for Obama. But Obama has been President for over 7 years, and he (imo) made some unfortunate decisions on Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. There were no good options for him, but the actions he took (or, more often, proclaimed he would not take)were a major factor in creating the refugee crisis that is turning Europe to the extreme right and may destroy the EU.


June 17th, 2016

McCain has never seen a war he did not like or one that he did not want us involved in. The rise of Isil is directly attributable to the policies of George W. Bush, including the decision to go to war, but also his utter ignorance of the dynamics of Iraqi politics.

The Middle East is a quagmire that we cannot fix. How many American soldiers have to die to satisfy McCain and Bush and other neocons who think it is macho to send other people’s children to fight in wars that cannot be won?


June 18th, 2016


He couldn’t make any decision when it comes to Iraq. We had an agreement that expired and unless we want to indefintely remain in Iraq, occupying sovereign territory, we had to leave. There was no choice. As for Syria that is another that there is virtually no choice. You obviously can’t back assad because he is a tyrant, but can’t back the rebels either since many want a theocracy in Syria.

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