Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters Thursday that President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for the Orlando shooting because the Islamic State terror group grew in size during his administration, The Associated Press reported.
McCain made the comments as Obama was visiting with families of the 49 victims in the largest mass shooting in the nation’s history. The gunman, U.S.-born Omar Mateen, died after a shootout with SWAT members.
McCain attempted to clarify his remark in a tweet later in the day:
To clarify, I was referring to Pres Obama’s national security decisions that have led to rise of #ISIL, not to the President himself
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 16, 2016
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that Obama is either naive about the threat posed by ISIL terrorists or else is secretly working with extremists.
McCain is currently locked in a tough re-election race for his sixth term in the Senate.
This post has been updated.