McCain: Obama should leave another empty chair for dead Syrians

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain granddaughter comes out in support of Clinton With reservations, moving toward Hillary Clinton FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton closes out Democratic convention MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday urged President Obama to address the war in Syria in his final State of the Union speech.

"What I would like to see the president do is talk about what his No. 1 issue on Americans' minds today, and of course, that's terrorism, national security, the situation in the Middle East and the attacks on America," he said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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McCain slammed the White House's recent announcement that one of the seats in the president's guest box will be left empty in honor of the victims of gun violence.

"I'd like to see another empty chair for the 250,000 Syrians that have been slaughtered and barrel bombed and starved to death and tortured by [Syrian President] Bashar Assad thanks to his failed policy, because of a feckless policy of leading from behind, deciding not to arm the Free Syrian Army over the recommendations of his national security team, including Hillary Clinton."

The Arizona senator reiterated his call for American ground troops to be used against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying that an increased military presence is needed to "go and destroy them."

He also said that the United States is at risk, warning that "there certainly will be more attacks just as [Sen.] Lindsey [Graham] and I predicted the attacks that are taking place now. You got to go in there, and right now there is no strategy. There is no strategy."

McCain, who had endorsed Graham (R-S.C.) for president before he dropped out last month, also talked about the 2016 race during the interview.

When asked about his recent comments regarding Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHot air balloon crash kills 16 in Texas 100 days to go in volatile race Voting Trump because of the Supreme Court isn't enough MORE's (R-Texas) eligibility to serve as president, McCain denied saying that he believed his senate colleague was unqualified.

"First of all, I assume that Ted Cruz is eligible, of course, because I think he and his people would have looked at it. But when I said it should be looked at, everything about a candidate for president of the United States is looked at."

Ted Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. He held dual citizenship until he renounced his Canadian citizenship after being elected to the senate.

McCain, who was born in Panama to American parents, faced similar questions when he ran for president in 2008.

"So, looking at this is certainly a far cry from trying to stab him in the back. Come on," he added.

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