John McCain Says Trump Administration ‘Partially to Blame’ for Syria Chemical Attack

Donald Trump immediately blamed President Obama for the Syrian chemical weapons attack the other day and some Republicans, like Sen. Tom Cotton, who can’t find Tehran if you spot him a map and a flashlight, agreed.

John McCain, on the other hand, while calling the strike “an excellent first step” told John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face The Nation” refused to absolve the Trump administration from blame for the attack.

Asked by Dickerson if the administration’s original position that removal of Assad was not a priority “encouraged this behavior,” McCain’s answer was, “I think it probably was partially to blame.”

Speaking of Tillerson’s expressed opinion that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” McCain reiterated his call for a strategy and a plan:

“And Secretary 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.”

McCain also rejected the idea that a one-off on a Syrian airfield was in any way meaningful. He also said we should have “cratered” the airfield.

This is an omission Donald Trump explained via Twitter yesterday:

McCain’s answer to this was, “Yeah, and we can crater them again too.”

“Just a one-time deal is not going to be productive. And saying, ‘We are only going after chemical weapons areas,’ ignores the enormity of the problem.”

“A very small percentage of the people who have been slaughtered in Syria have been slaughtered by chemical weapons. It’s been done by barrel bombs and indiscriminate killing and all the other war crimes that have been committed.”

The Arizona Republican pointed out, in contradiction to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s claim that ISIS must be our priority, that ISIS cannot be separated from Assad’s actions.

America, McCain said, can take care of both problems at the same time. “We can walk and chew gum.”

According to McCain, “we need a strategy,” which means, of course, that we – that is Donald Trump – doesn’t have one.

Trump did not have a strategy before, and from conflicting statements made by Trump officials even after the attack, he doesn’t have one now.