McCain On Syria: "It's The End Of The Beginning, Not The Beginning Of The End"

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MSNBC: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joins Morning Joe for a wide-ranging discussion on the U.S. missile strike in Syria, why Trump has a chance to reboot with the U.S., Gorsuch and a 'dark day' in the Senate.

McCain also called for arming the Free Syrian Army rebels.

"Let's all face the facts," McCain said Friday. "When the president drew the red line, didn't act, we all know what the results were. Now the president basically has reversed that action and restored credibility. And coincidences are nice, I’m glad he's talking to the Chinese president at the same time."

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Senator McCain, it’s especially great to have you here this morning because we've been complaining over the past week, past several days especially, that all we’ve heard for six years is Syria is too tough. We can't do anything, a lot of wringing of hands while 5 million people scattered, 500,000 killed, two chemical attacks.

You actually have been warning about this outcome for the past four to five years.

So you tell us, was last night an appropriate attack?

Did we do enough?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): I think it was appropriate but I would like to say, despite all the enthusiasm we see this morning, if I might quote Churchill, "It's the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end."

We got have a Middle East in chaos, the Europeans being destabilized, the spread of ISIS throughout the world. This is the challenge of Bashar al-Assad and then we have also got the challenge of ISIS, so there's a lot more to go. But the signal I think that was sent last night, just as you said, was a very, very important one.


McCain said Trump's national security and military advisers "arguably the strongest team that I have seen in the White House."

DAVID IGNATIUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It begins to. These are people who have a deep sense of insecurity and anxiety, anger toward Iran. They feel that Iran has been pushing them around. They want to see more.

The question I’d have for Senator McCain is what is the right measured next step?

The president began something last night.

What's the right next place to go?

MCCAIN: By the way, could I also comment before I say that, this is a team that the president has assembled that I have praised.

The question was that a lot of us had -- get that, David.

BRZEZINSKI: David’s phone’s ringing.

IGNATIUS: I apologize. I told the White House not to call me.

MCCAIN: I think the question was, would the president listen to this team, arguably the strongest team that I have seen in the White House.

SCARBOROUGH: The strongest foreign policy team --

MCCAIN: Yes, the national security team.

And obviously he did. Obviously he listened to that team and that's what's most encouraging to me, is that he respects Mattis, he respects McMaster, he respects Kelly. He is -- so I think that's very important.

I think the next step, David, is to see what the reaction is and then be prepared to take other action. You know, it's not just chemical weapons but it's barrel bombs, it’s other atrocities that have been committed of those 400-some thousand who have been killed, a small number of those were by chemical weapons.

The rest of it is gross violations of international law.


McCain calls for safe zones:

MCCAIN: And, by the way, I would move forward with the safe zones. I would move forward with the Army in training of the Free Syrian Army, which you would have to rebuild from a very low level.

But I would go ahead and move forward with those plans. And, by the way, you have got to settle the problem with Turkey, as you know, about the Kurds.

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