McCain: Hagan skipped crucial ISIS hearings

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEsper faces tough questions on dismissal of aircraft carrier's commander Democratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Ariz.) blasted Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganThe Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina emerges as key battleground for Senate control Tillis wins North Carolina Senate primary Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 MORE (D-N.C.) on the North Carolina campaign trail, saying she skipped meetings of the Senate Armed Services Committee while Islamic militants executed two U.S. citizens.
 
“Here we are with Americans being beheaded, and Sen. Hagan doesn’t even show up for the briefing,” McCain told reporters after a Tuesday stop for GOP Senate hopeful Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina Senate race emerges as 2020 bellwether The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina emerges as key battleground for Senate control Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus MORE, The Charlotte Observer reported.
 

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“She goes to a fundraiser instead,” McCain added after an event that included Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), another member of the powerful Senate panel.
 
The criticism echoes a line of attack Tillis has used against the incumbent in recent weeks, cutting an ad charging Hagan “did cocktails” while the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “grew” and that she missed more than half of the committee's hearings.
 
The terror group, which still controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in gruesome propaganda films uploaded to the Internet.
 
McCain’s remarks come a day after he criticized another Armed Services Democrat, Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? McConnell sets Friday night deadline for bipartisan deal on stimulus American citizen released from Lebanese prison, returning to US MORE (N.H.), for not being a “serious member" of the committee.
 
Both women are in tough races that could decide which party controls the upper chamber next year.
 
McCain, who is widely expected to chair Armed Services should the GOP win next week at the polls, also repeated his calls for a more robust response to ISIS, including sending up to 10,000 advisers, special forces and support personnel into the Middle East to defeat the terror group.
 
“ISIS is winning,” he said. “We’re losing.”
 
Tillis backed the senior lawmaker’s calls for greater U.S. involvement.
 
“What Sen. [McCain] is talking about is not having people at the front lines,” he told reporters. “I think we’ve got the expectation that we’re going to have partners in the Middle East and others. But we’ve got to have American expertise in advisory positions to make sure they do it right, and to make sure that once we secure the ground again, we keep it.”

Hagan's campaign dismissed the criticism.

Hagan “has a 98 percent voting attendance record” on the committee and has chaired "more than 20 hearings on counterterrorism," according to spokesman Chris Hayden.

“It is Speaker Tillis who has repeatedly refused to tell North Carolina service members and their families whether he would support putting American boots on the ground and how he would combat the threat of ISIS,” Hayden added.

— Updated at 11:16 a.m.