McCain: Trump playing into Putin's hands by canceling Syrian rebel program

McCain: Trump playing into Putin's hands by canceling Syrian rebel program
© Greg Nash

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (R-Ariz.) on Thursday accused President Trump of “playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin” in his first political statement since announcing he has brain cancer.

McCain criticized Trump after he reportedly canceled a CIA program that supported Syrian rebels.

Russia had reportedly viewed the program as an attack on its interests and had been lobbying for its cancellation. The CIA had been backing Syrian rebels in Syria's civil war since 2013 in an attempt to force Syrian President Bashar Assad from office.


"Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted," McCain said in his statement.

“The administration has yet to articulate its vision for Syria beyond the defeat of ISIL, let alone a comprehensive approach to the Middle East,” he added, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The longtime GOP senator also hit the Trump administration for not presenting a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. Trump is reportedly considering sending more troops to the country in an attempt to end the 16-year-long war.

“It is now mid-July, when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to Congress, and we are still waiting,” McCain said.

McCain announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer.