McCain Says Syrian Regime's Behavior Due To Trump's Aides

The Trump administration deserves some of the “blame” for the chemical-weapons attack that killed about 100 civilians in Syria last week, according to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The Hill reported that the veteran Republican lawmaker slammed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley for their recent comments that the United States should not try to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. McCain suggested that their reluctance to advocate regime change in the war-torn Middle Eastern country emboldened Assad to order the chemical attack.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the senator declared: “I think (the administration) probably was partially to blame, 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.”

Tillerson, during a news conference before the chemical attack, told reporters that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” In March, Haley announced that ousting the dictator would not be a “priority” for the administration. The officials’ remarks drew protests from human-rights groups and others opposed to Assad.

Despite criticizing the Trump team’s mixed messages, McCain said he supported Thursday’s U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airfield that reportedly destroyed several planes and killed seven people. The president claimed that the military action was in retaliation for the chemical attack.

According to McCain, the United States needs to follow up on the airstrikes with a comprehensive policy concerning Syria. “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,” he explained. "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.”

McCain, a former prisoner of war who is one of the leading military “hawks” in Congress, has frequently questioned Trump’s foreign policy.

Source: The Hill
Photo: CBS Face The Nation

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