Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain is backpedaling after blaming President Obama for last Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando club that left 49 dead.
The Washington Post reports that McCain, speaking to a group of reporters in the Senate, said that the attack came as a result of President Obama failing to properly fight ISIS overseas.
“Barack Obama is directly responsible for [the attack] 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, adding that he predicted the withdrawal of troops would result in more attacks on US soil.
Shortly after making his comments, McCain, who is up for reelection, issued a statement claiming that he “misspoke.”
“I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible,” he said. “I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the President himself…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.”
Sunday morning’s shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse was the deadliest mass shooting in US history. During the attack, the gunman, Omar Mateen, called 911 and declared his allegiance to ISIS. The terrorist group claimed responsibility, though authorities believe that Mateen had no direct ties to the Islamic State.