McCain: Trump inaction on Syria is ‘disgraceful chapter’ in US history

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey MORE (R-Ariz.) says President Trump’s lack of action after Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical attacks on the Syrian people is a “disgraceful chapter in American history.”

“It is another disgraceful chapter in American history and it was predictable,” McCain told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. 

McCain expressed disbelief at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement that the Syrian people will be able to determine their own fates, citing the involvement of foreign fighters from Iran and Russia as well as Russian air attacks on hospitals in Aleppo.

The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said the Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah-backed forces will be happy to hear Tillerson’s remarks and see Trump’s inaction.

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“Bashar al-Assad and his friends the Russians take note of what Americans say,” he said. “I'm sure they are encouraged to know the United States is withdrawing and seeking a new arrangement with the Russians.”

McCain compared the lack of action to the Obama administration’s stance on Syria, saying neither president took the situation seriously enough.

“We've seen this movie before, when Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th A path to climate, economic and environmental justice is finally on the horizon Emergency infrastructure needed to keep Americans safe: Public media MORE said they would have a red line and they crossed it and he did nothing,” he added.

McCain called for Trump to work with the Free Syrian Army to remove Assad from power, adding that the Russians are going “to pay a price for their engagement.”  

“All players here are going to have to pay a penalty and the United States of America is going to be on the side of people who fight for freedom, and we will not sit by and watch chemical weapons being used to slaughter innocent women and children. ... Didn't we learn a lesson when Barack Obama refused to do anything?”