Responding to reports that 90 people were killed in a massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, Sen. John McCain said Sunday that the White House’s response to the violence there was “about a year too late.”
“Horrible things are happening in Syria,” McCain said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This administration has a feckless foreign policy, which abandons American leadership.”
McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s foreign policy positions and has often accused Obama of leading “from behind.”
Still, the Arizona senator’s comments Sunday were particularly harsh.
“You know, this is a shameful episode in American history,” he said. “It began back in 2009, when we refused – when the president of the United States refused to speak up on behalf of the demonstrators in the streets of Tehran, and gone from one episode to another.”
Responding to a New York Times report that Obama plans to push to transition Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power with help from Russia, McCain said Obama is trying to “kick the can down the road on all of these issues until after the election.“
Syrian authorities on Sunday denied responsibility for the massacre in Houla.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement Saturday that the U.S. “condemns in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s massacre,” and that “the United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end.”