McCain: Trump aides 'partially to blame' for encouraging Syrian regime's behavior

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death MORE (R-Ariz.) said during an interview broadcast Sunday that comments made by members of the Trump administration "probably" contributed to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"I think it probably was partially to blame," McCain said on CBS's "Face The Nation."

"And Secretary Tillerson basically saying the same thing after kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy."
 
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Last week, the U.S. launched a missile strike on a Syrian military air base. The strike was in retaliation for a chemical attack in northern Syria that the U.S. has blamed on the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
 
Before the chemical attack, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a joint news conference that the "longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people."
 
Many human rights and anti-Assad advocates interpreted that statement to mean the U.S. would not work to oust the authoritarian ruler.
 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also told reporters last month that removing Assad from power would no longer be a "priority" of the U.S. 
 
McCain said during the interview on Sunday the administration needs to have a Syria strategy.
 
"Just a one-time deal is not going to be productive. And saying, 'We are only going after chemical weapons areas,' ignores the enormity of the problem," he said.
 
"A very small percentage of the people who have been slaughtered in Syria have been slaughtered by chemical weapons. It's been done by barrel bombs and indiscriminate killing and all the other war crimes that have been committed."