May 28th, 2013
11:25 AM ET
1 year ago

White House had heads up on McCain's Syria trip

(CNN) – White House officials were notified that Sen. John McCain was planning to visit with rebels in Syria ahead of his trip to the war-torn nation, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

"We were aware that Sen. McCain was going to make this trip," Carney said, referring other questions about the administration's role in the visit to the State Department. He added the White House was looking forward to "speaking with Sen. McCain upon his return to learn more."

McCain, who is the first U.S. senator to visit Syria since civil war broke out two years ago, slipped into the country Monday through Turkey to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army. He remained in the country for several hours.

McCain is the leading voice in Congress for a greater U.S. role in ending Syria's civil war, which has been waged for more than two years. He has suggested establishing "safe zones" for Syria's rebels and taking out the regime's air assets, along with providing lethal weapons to Syria's opposition.

Republicans and Democrats alike have called on President Barack Obama to ramp up support for Syrian rebels, who now receive nonlethal aid like food and medicine from the United States. In early April that aid was stepped up to include equipment such as body armor, night vision goggles and other military equipment that is considered defensive in nature.

Carney did not announce any new administration positions with regard to Syria on Tuesday.


Filed under: John McCain • Syria
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. lottie

    ol john can go where he wants. This is a free country. If he screws up diplomatic relations whit this stunt ., what can we do? Hope Kerrys meeting goes ok.

    May 28, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    So if the administration knew about it and did nothing to stop it, is that considered at least tacit approval?

    May 28, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Yanni

    McCain would have loved to see one more war before he checked out. May be this was his last chance if he get lucky.

    May 28, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Tell me CNN, why wouldn't the White House be aware of a top U.S. senator going to Syria? It really must be a slow news day huh?

    May 28, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "ol john can go where he wants. This is a free country"

    Except Cuba. We are not really allowed to go to Cuba because Republicans like Miami's Cuban votes, so your freedom has to take a back seat to that.

    May 28, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. just asking

    >Carney did not announce any new administration positions with regard to Syria on Tuesday.

    like i said.... obama continues to pick his nose.

    May 28, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Mike Wallace

    Uh oh. Isaa will have a field day investigating Obama for this one.

    May 28, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. g

    could you imagine if they said,thanks but no thanks .question should be how much tax payer money is he going to spend,on this terrorist group

    May 28, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Where is Lindsay?

    May 28, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "So if the administration knew about it and did nothing to stop it, is that considered at least tacit approval?"

    Or it could be more like "we can't tell you no, but we'll be having a little chat when you get back, you can count on that."

    Who knows. It's not really all that big of a deal either way. We knew Republicans would eventually be demanding that gun manufacturers and defense contractors be handed a few billion federal dollars for SOMETHING; it was just a matter of waiting to see what excuse they would latch onto. After all, with Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, that gravy train is sort of slowing down to a trickle and that's totally unacceptable in their minds.

    May 28, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Dee Wallace

    I certainly hope McCain does not try to undermine this President he is so hell bent on war. I don't blame the President take his time because if something goes wrong he will be the first to say it is Obamas' fault. I don't trust him he has denegrated this President so much on every subject they need to be this energetic in passing bills to put people back to work and repairing bridges and infrastructure.

    May 28, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    Actually Dutch, I think it's been a slow news week since the top blew off all of of their made up scandals that the MSM simply ate up like Sunday dinner......

    May 28, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. SuperD

    How easily we forget that the diva Pelosi visited Assad in when W was president. She was specifically told by the administration not to go as it gives Assad mixed signals. The diva was told not to go, she went anyway.

    You guys are all full of it. At least McCain informed the administration and apparently they were cool with it. Big Difference when compared to the Diva.

    May 28, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "So if the administration knew about it and did nothing to stop it, is that considered at least tacit approval?"

    Or it could be more like "we can't tell you no, but we'll be having a little chat when you get back, you can count on that."
    -------------------–
    Of course, a right winger would look at it that way. After all, can you imagine what the Bush administration, or even a McCain administration for that matter, would have done had the situation been reversed. There would have been hearings in the Senate, accusing the Senator of undermining national security, sleeping with the enemy, and who knows what else.

    May 28, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Obama would turn to the hawk in congress, to be a messenger, of course.

    May 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    SuperD

    How easily we forget that the diva Pelosi visited Assad in when W was president. She was specifically told by the administration not to go as it gives Assad mixed signals. The diva was told not to go, she went anyway.
    ------–
    Pelosi made a peace overture to Assad, regarding rumors of him supporting terrorism. Apparently her position was not consistent with Bush administration's desire to open up a new front in their "war on terror".

    May 28, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. ST

    This is getting funnier if not ridiculous. McCain was in Syria for few hours. How can anyone learn something in this very short time? He talked with rebels. Why couldn't the rebels told him what he wants to hear? McCain has been claiming that he doesn't trust the White House because they told lies about Benghazi. Why should the White House trust McCain what he will tell them about Syria?

    May 28, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Pete

    See how proactive Pres.Obamas in not chastising McCain as republicans would have if Pres.Obama doing the same thing and you posters the righties know it as well here!!Just how much did that flight to Syria with included security cost ,I'm waiting!!

    May 28, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. just askin

    Rudy NYC
    Pelosi made a peace overture to Assad, regarding rumors of him supporting terrorism.
    ---

    rumors of terrorism? shows how clueless you are. peace overtures with a country on the state dept. list of countries that support terrorism? sounds like a treasonous act to me. she had no authority whatsoever to make any agreement of the sort. like obama, just another photo op at our expense.

    May 28, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Of course, a right winger would look at it that way. After all, can you imagine what the Bush administration, or even a McCain administration for that matter, would have done had the situation been reversed. There would have been hearings in the Senate, accusing the Senator of undermining national security, sleeping with the enemy, and who knows what else.
    ------------

    I for one shudder at the thought of a McCain Administration, Rudy.

    May 28, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "The diva was told not to go, she went anyway."

    In other words, the administration was informed ahead of time and knew about Pelosi's trip?

    "You guys are all full of it. At least McCain informed the administration and apparently they were cool with it. "

    In other words, the administration somehow suddenly didn't know about Pelosi's trip ahead of time?

    Cognitive dissonance is conservatives' bread and butter.

    May 28, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "she had no authority whatsoever to make any agreement of the sort. like obama, just another photo op at our expense."

    McCain doesn't have that authority either, so I guess you just admitted this is nothing more than a photo-op for him.

    May 28, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Zaphod

    If McCain is so eager to have the US involved, tell him to change that suit for fatigues and get involved himself.

    May 28, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why doesn't McCain go to North Korea to talk to whatshisface?

    May 28, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...So long as he's sticking his nose in other people's business...

    May 28, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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