The United States should retake control of the NATO military operation in Libya, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's 'an affront to the decency of the American people' Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday.

"I never wanted us to step down ... because the United States is NATO — that’s the reality," McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

McCain, who traveled to the rebel stronghold of Bengazi last week, said those opposed to Libya's longtime leader, Moammar Gadhafi, needed more military support and only the U.S. could provide it.

"One of the very bad results here is a stalemate," McCain said. "A stalemate between both sides that’s divided somewhere in the middle of Libya, and then you would open the door for al Qaeda to come in and to hijack this very legitimate government that’s opposed to Gadhafi."

McCain said the U.S. should recognize and arm the opposition forces.

"The rebels, or liberation forces, as I like to call them, are badly outgunned," he said. "I hope that Gadhafi goes, I hope that there’s that kind of overthrow from within, but hope is not a strategy."