Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union With Jake Tapper,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) discussed his recommendations for ending the Syrian civil war and said Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s plan to let Russia fight ISIS means he doesn’t understand the situation.
Host Jake Tapper asked McCain about Trump saying, “Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight, and let Russia, they’re in Syria already, let them fight ISIS. Let Russia take care of ISIS. how many places can we be?”
McCain said, “Well, I guess the question is, is do we want to keep slaughtering people in Syria and that are fighting for freedom? Do we want to continue the barrel bombing, which is one of the reasons why 240,000 Syrians have been murdered? Do we want the flood of refugees to continue?
He continued, “I just don’t think — one, I don’t think he understands very well the situation and he’s entitled to his opinion. As far as other members of my party are concerned, that all I can say is that I know the realities. I’ve been there for years. we have said what needed to be done and predicted what was going to happen. If there is no reassertion of American leadership a variety of ways such as recommended by General David Petraeus and many other experts, then we’ll face further consequences of an abject failure of American leadership.”
When asked about the tone and tenor of the race on the Republican side, McCain said, “I think we are hurting ourselves and our chances to win the general election. If we disparage each other and impugn character of each other, then after the primary is over then obviously there’s a trust and support deficit among the American people….I’ve believed a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed. I wish we would think about Ronald Reagan and the way he conducted his campaigns. We can fight like blazes with each other where we disagree, but to impugn each others characters and integrity is very harmful to each other, ourselves, and our chances of winning a general election.”
When asked if leaders have a responsibility to condemn bigotry when they hear it, McCain said, “Oh, yes, I believe so….I think there’s a lot of people in the party that are not happy about the tenor of some of the remarks and allegations about each other. And again, I sense a great dissatisfaction with Washington here in Arizona but I also hear a lot of dissatisfaction about, one, the issues that are being discussed, which are not particularly relevant, and, two, the personal attacks that are being made. I’m afraid we’ll pay a price for it at the polls. I hope we’ll change.”
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