Arizona Senator John McCain said today that President Barack Obama is responsible for the massacre at Pulse in Orlando. McCain, speaking to a small number of reporters in the Senate hallway, responded to a question about the debate on gun control. “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, according to the Washington Post. But McCain didn’t stop there. He doubled down when asked to clarify. “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, according to the Washington Post. “It’s a matter of record, so he is directly responsible.” McCain later walked back his remarks in a statement released Thursday. “I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible,” he said in the statement. “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.” McCain may or may not have meant to imply, but what he did do was actually say “Barack Obama is directly responsible” and then, later, said, “he is directly responsible.” That’s not an implication, that’s a pair of direct statements. This, his Twitter apology, is an implication.
Of course, before he could retract his statement it was enthusiastically shared by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Wonderful. Although the shooter claimed ties to ISIS, the FBI is still working out which if any terror group he with which he was affiliated. Twitter reactions were, predictably, less than kind to Senator McCain.