Never missing an opportunity to turn a tense geopolitical situation into a personal attack on the President, Senator John McCain blamed Donald Trump for the reported chemical attack in Syria, saying that Trump’s words and inaction ’emboldened’ Bashar Assad and his backers.

While Trump decired the attack immediately, McCain waited to release a statement that blamed the President for the attack which has resportedly left over 40 dead.

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.” McCain wrote in a statement.

“President Trump was quick to call out Assad today, along with the Russian and Iranian governments, on Twitter. The question now is whether he will do anything about it.” The Senator added.

McCain then appeared to call for military action, stating that “The President responded decisively when Assad used chemical weapons last year. He should do so again, and demonstrate that Assad will pay a price for his war crimes.”

Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian base a year ago in April 2017, but stopped short of any further military action, despite intense pressure.

McCain also pointed a finger at Obama, stating “To be sure, President Trump inherited bad options after years of inaction by his predecessor in Syria. History will render a bitter judgment on America for that failure.”

“But no one should believe we are out of options.” McCain continued, adding “We can and should change course – starting with a comprehensive strategy that lays out clear objectives for our mission there. It’s not too late to stop Assad’s impunity and begin to rewrite this terrible chapter in our history.”

McCain has long urged for greater US military action in Syria, pushing for regime change. Trump, on the other hand, has expressed a desire to pull US troops out of the region and end US involvement in the conflict, but has been met with stern opposition from military generals.

The tensions escalated Monday with a missile attack reportedly carried out by Israel on a a military airbase in Syria.

Russia has claimed that reports of the Assad government being behind the attack are fake.

Reuters reports:

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday reports of a gas attack in Syria were bogus and any military action taken based on such “invented and fabricated excuses” could lead to severe consequences.

“The spread of bogus stories about the use of chlorine and other poisonous substances by (Syrian) government forces continues. Yet another such fabricated piece of information about an alleged chemical attack in Douma appeared yesterday,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We have warned several times recently against such dangerous provocations. The aim of such deceitful speculation, lacking any kind of grounding, is to shield terrorists … and to attempt to justify possible external uses of force.”

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