Arizona Senator John McCain on Thursday
said that President Barack Obama's policies were “directly
responsible” for a mass shooting over the weekend in Orlando.
Forty-nine people died and dozens were
injured when a lone gunman opened fire early Sunday morning inside a
Omar Mateen, 29, pledged allegiance to
ISIS during a 911 call from inside the club. He also pledged
allegiance to other groups, some of which are enemies of ISIS.
According to the AP, McCain told
reporters that Obama was “directly responsible” for the attack.
McCain clarified in a statement that he
was referring to the president's policies.
“I did not mean to imply that the
president was personally responsible,” the 2008 Republican
presidential nominee said. “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.”
Obama has called Mateen a “homegrown
terrorist” with no actual connection to ISIS.
McCain made his remarks as Obama and
Vice President Joe Biden were meeting with the families of victims in