McCain: ‘The President Bears Responsibility’ for ISIS

With more troops deploying to Iraq, McCain says Obama should have taken earlier advice

Arizona Sen. John McCain said President Barack Obama's rejection of advice from White House officials on the Middle East led to the rise of ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Arizona Sen. John McCain said President Barack Obama's rejection of advice from White House officials on the Middle East led to the rise of ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:29pm

President Barack Obama bears responsibility for everything that happened during his presidency, including the rise if ISIS, Sen. John McCain said Wednesday.

Responding to news of Obama’s authorization to send an additional 600 troops to Iraq, the Arizona Republican said, “This is the same country we had to remove our troops, by the way, in the words of Barack Obama: ‘the most democratic, free, prosperous Iraq in history.'”

McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential race to Obama, said earlier decisions by the president have led to the current conflict there against ISIS.

“Everybody was shocked when I said the president bears responsibility — he bears responsibility,” McCain said. “He’s the one that turned down the recommendation of [Gen.] David Petraeus, [former Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta, and [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton to arm and train the Free Syrian Army and establish a no-fly zone.”

The senator added that had that happened, the situation would be very different today. 

“Look, they’re paying the butcher’s bill, they pulled everybody out,” McCain said. “They pulled everybody out, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS and this is what we’re facing today.”

The decision to send the additional troops to Iraq places the official count of American troops there at more than 5,ooo.