September 7th, 2013
06:52 PM ET
1 year ago

McCain raises impeachment - if boots hit ground in Syria

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After endorsing President Barack Obama's plan to launch military strikes against Syria, Sen. John McCain warned the president would face impeachment if he were to put "boots on the ground."

McCain told Phoenix radio host Mike Broomhead on Thursday that the president had "bungled" the entire handling of the Syria crisis and would open himself up to impeachment hearings if he overstepped the limits of the authorization before Congress.


"No one wants American boots on the ground," McCain told the KYFI audience. "Nor will there be American boots on the ground, because there would be an impeachment of the president if they did that."

While McCain said he still supports the current plan to intervene in Syria, the Arizona Republican's statement seems to reflect his contentious Thursday town hall meeting with some Phoenix constituents. At the meeting, McCain, who has favored a more robust American response to the Syria crisis, faced intense criticism.

"We didn't send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war," one man said.

Despite his warning to the president, McCain spoke out in favor of the Syria authorization again Saturday, endorsing former Army Gen. David Petraeus' endorsement of the administration's plan in a tweet.

Only one of three Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations panel to approve the measure, McCain has vocally advocated for a stepped-up American response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. He even refused to pass the White House resolution out of committee until it included provisions to bolster Syrian opposition forces deemed moderate.

McCain's support for action hasn't stopped the Arizonan from blasting his former 2008 presidential rival for inaction.

In an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Tuesday, McCain told Wolf Blitzer the president needed to "explain to the American people" why urgent action in Syria is necessary. The Republican senator also said President Obama made a mistake by consulting Congress instead of immediately launching a bombing campaign against the Syrian government.

"It's common sense you don't warn them and give them plenty of time to disperse," McCain said.


Filed under: John McCain • President Obama • Syria • Uncategorized
soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. Oregon Native

    Stay the hell out of Syria. Impeachment threats? Seriously, McCain, there has never been a war you are not in favor of.

    September 8, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Jocho Johnson

    Mr. McCain, it is YOU should face recall

    September 8, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Jimbo

    The trouble with term limits is that the term should be limited to none. McCain is best when he is playing video poker at congressional meetings rather than actually engaging. I generally respect Arizona but this guy is making you look bad.

    September 8, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Dan

    Let's see; what are we pretending to have substantial knowledge about today? Ah, Syria. Well, let's begin.

    September 8, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Socalmcgraw

    Ugh. Why say that. Either the President has the full range of capabilities of the military to use or he doesn't. He is the Commander in Chief not McCain. McCain may have inadvertently tipped the balance to not being involved with that threat. If that was the intent then, well played. It's likely an overreach on McCain's part and he's now changed the entire dynamic.

    September 8, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    If congress decide not to use force then we should open the debate on what enemy we are arming against, its not Russia or China. We could reduce the defense budget by 80%

    September 8, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. dike

    all this bickering and blackmail by both parties... I am really sick of this. Kids would behave better. Wasting time money and missing the big picture. When your attack has to effective and a small team you do it in stealth not announce to the whole world and fight about how, what to use, no boots.... now the enemy knows your plan and we are giving them time to hide...

    September 8, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. HorseMan

    Another irrelevant career politician making another futile effort por staying a little longer in the front pages.

    September 8, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. MikeinNM

    I'm of two minds:
    Hell no to military intervention.
    If we don't stop chemical warfare, no one will.

    September 8, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Ron

    I I thought McCain was the one who wanted boots on the ground and a full scale invasion? Is he losing his marbles?

    September 8, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Joel

    It is amazing listening to Republicans who blast Obama for starting a war against a dictator who uses chemical weapons on his own people. The you hear Democrats blast Republicans for the same thing. The real fools are we the people who allowed political parties to divide us as a people and use us for political power. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer arguing for war really? Does anyone believe they would do the same thing if there was a Republican in the White House? They are all party before country and have no credibility.

    September 8, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    McCain: No mater what President Obama does you're going to criticize. Sour grapes losing the presidential election

    September 8, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Rick White

    So help me, if we do anything to Syria against the wishes of the majority of the US people, there will be demonstrations so large that McCain will wish he was impeached!

    September 8, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. marti

    Typical McCain. What makes him angry is the President went to Congress instead of attacking, taking away his chance to criticise him again. Obama can't win with these republicans. Mr. President don't attack Syria.

    September 8, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Thomas F Fletcher

    The senator from Az is one confused men, after his town hall meeting. Where does he get off telling the President, no boots on the ground, when he has been saying for two years that we need to do more. He needs to make his mind up, if he has one.

    September 8, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. john in vero beach

    I think you would have criticized Obama no matter what he would have done. Obama doesn't go to Congress, he is a tyrant. He consults Congress first, he is week. The Republicans have been out of power for a few years now, and it is driving them crazy.

    September 8, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Brown

    Americans ...

    You really need to remove this entire Congress before these fools bring a terrible war to your doorstep.

    September 8, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Gary Tilley

    Grateful that McCain is not our president!

    September 8, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. john

    I agree, stay the hell out of Syria, they have no oil, so there is no economic interest in it for America. They don't have any serious WMD's either so they are no threat to any other country, except Israel (through their backing of Hezbollah), but Israel can take care of themselves.

    September 8, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. David/Ohio

    Senator McCain caught heat at that town hall meeting, and now he is talking tough to the President to cover himself. Another "Profile In Courage" moment from Washington. This response shows me that: A. McCain has wanted to dictate making a military strike in Syria from the beginning, and B: We should NOT strike because the Republicans will then take this as an opportunity to damage the President's domestic agenda. As long as there are ANY doubts about who actually deployed the chemical weapons (it could have been the "rebels"), then we should NOT go in. Call it "The Bush Legacy". Since Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell LIED about WMD in Iraq, the American people have a right to know beyond a shadow of a doubt who, exactly, committed this war crime. Republicans should face up to the REALITY that it was their boy Bush who created the new American Isolationism and skepticism about U.S. intervention.

    September 8, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. John

    Hey Senator what's the difference boots on the ground or cruise missiles an attack is an attack and you have been trying for an attack on Syria for 2 years also you were all for boots on the ground in Iraq. Also under the war powers act all he has to say is the country's security is in danger anyway and still do it unless you people in the House and Senate abolish the war powers act today.

    September 8, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. liberal

    'One hundred days of negotiations are better than one hour of shooting' (former German Federal Chancellor Schmidt).

    This is why American bombs in Syria will do NOTHING to improve the situation there, but will do much to further de-stabilize the region, and which is why we should all oppose a military intervention.

    The reality, though, is that the GOP cares not one fig about Syria: they care about undermining the president wherever they can. Had the president announced amping up diplomatic efforts – say a peace conference w/ Assad, the US and Russia in one room – the GOP would be screaming that he is afraid to show American power etc.

    September 8, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Nick Carter

    Obama's wonderful strategy of including you, and, the GOP and in the 'original decision' to punish Syria, is too much for you to digest McCain. We can see that... I know this is your "ridiculous idea" to counter some of the brownie points that Obama got...

    September 8, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Sen. McCain may want to review the President's powers and authority, as well as Congresses, before he tosses around impeachment.

    September 8, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Susan

    Senator McCain, it isn't about "giving them plenty of time to disperse," It is about defending a "red line" against the use of chemical weapons.

    September 8, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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