WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain said Thursday that President Barack Obama is “directly responsible” for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, because Obama has allowed the growth of the Islamic State group on his watch.
McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election, made the comment to reporters Thursday while Obama was in Orlando visiting with the families of those killed in Sunday’s attack and some of the survivors.
The gunman, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured more than 50 in the attack at a gay nightclub. The 29-year-old Muslim born in New York made calls during the attack saying he was a supporter of the Islamic State. But he also spoke about an affiliate of al-Qaida and Hezbollah, both of which are IS enemies.
McCain is seeking a sixth term in the Senate from Arizona and is locked in a tight race.
Democrats quickly pounced on McCain’s criticism.
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said McCain’s “unhinged comments are just the latest proof that Senate Republicans are puppets of Donald Trump.”