McCain: Trump Team 'Partially To Blame' For Syria Chemical Attack

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he believes rhetoric from the Trump administration is “probably partially to blame” for Syria’s deadly chemical weapons attack on its civilians last week.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said just days before the attack that it would be up to the “Syrian people” to determine the “longer-term status” of President Bashar Assad, which may have signaled that Assad had nothing to fear from the U.S. 

On Sunday, McCain said of the comments: “I think it probably was partially to blame” for the attack. And now Tillerson is “saying basically the same thing — after kind of contradicting himself then saying the same thing,” McCain told “Face the Nation” on CBS Sunday.
McCain also said he does “not agree” with Tillerson’s stance that the U.S. needs to concentrate on ISIS before it can look at Assad’s position. McCain said it’s imperative now to have a clear, carefully devised strategy for Syrian action.

“I believe that the United States of America can address both at the same time,” McCain said. “We can walk and chew gum. We have the capability to do both.”
He added: “I think what the president did” launching an airstrike last Thursday against Syria in response to the chemical attack “was an excellent first step. Now it’s vitally important we develop a strategy, we put that strategy in motion, and we bring about peace in the region.”
The Trump administration appeared divided in statements Sunday over exactly what its Syria policy is now. Tillerson said the airstrike was a one-time response to the chemical weapons attack and did not signal a shift in American policy. But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria while Assad is in power.

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