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John McCain Criticizes Trump On Syria

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona called the Trump administration's decision to reprioritize ending civil war in Syria a "another disgraceful chapter in American history."

President Donald Trump's administration has reportedly prioritized fighting ISIS over ending Syria's civil war, which had been the priority of the Obama administration, CNN reports. McCain criticized the move, saying it was "predictable."

"[Syrian President] Bashar Assad and his friends, the Russians, take note of what Americans say," said McCain on CNN's "New Day." "I'm sure they took note of what our Secretary of State [Rex Tillerson] said just the other day that the Syrian people would be determining their own future themselves -- one of the more incredible statements I've ever heard."

"I'm sure they are encouraged to know the United States is withdrawing and seeking a new arrangement with the Russians," he added.

McCain said that he wanted Trump to speak out against Assad.

"I want to hear him say we're going to arm the free Syrian army," said the senator. "We're going to dedicate ourselves to the removal of Bashar Assad. We're going to have the Russians pay a price for their engagement. All players here are going to have to pay a penalty and the United States of America is going to be on the side of people who fight for freedom."

Despite criticizing Trump, McCain said he does have confidence in the president's security team, saying he hopes "they will develop a strategy, stand up and give the president the advice and counsel I believe he needs and could get from that team."

He also criticized former President Barack Obama's lack of action on Syria.

"We've seen this movie before, when Barack Obama said they would have a red line and they crossed it and he did nothing," said McCain.

McCain has been a vocal critic of Trump since the 2016 presidential campaign, when he unendorsed the Republican candidate after a leaked "Access Hollywood" recording revealed Trump bragging about groping women, Slate reports.

McCain had issued a statement announcing the retraction of his endorsement of Trump and said that it was "impossible" for him to support a candidate with Trump's "demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults." McCain said that instead of voting for Trump he would write in "some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be president."

He also recently called on Trump to expand on or retract his claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.

"I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "All he has to do is pick up the phone, call the director of the CIA, director of national intelligence and say, 'OK, what happened?'"

Sources: CNN (2), Slate / Photo credit: dsb nola/Wikimedia Commons

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