McCain Says Obama 'Directly Responsible' for Orlando Attack

PHOTO: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 28, 2016, during the committees hearing on the Islamic State group.PlayEvan Vucci/AP Photo
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Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Thursday that President Obama was "directly responsible" for the Orlando attack, a comment he later clarified as a criticism of the president's national security policies.

The Arizona Republican told reporters at the Capitol that Obama was responsible for the Orlando terror attack that left 50 people dead in a gay nightclub, including the shooter, according to the Associated Press, before his office sent out a statement adding to his comments.

"I misspoke," he wrote in the statement. "I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible. 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," he continued.

The Senate is now inching towards a vote on gun control measures in response to the Orlando shooting, the deadliest in America history. The House approved a package of three previously passed national security proposals in a strong bipartisan vote Thursday, in an effort to push the Senate to take them up.