Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) clashed with former White House press secretary Jay Carney on CNN Wednesday night, following President Barack Obama's primetime address on the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terror group.
"I'm astounded that Mr. Carney should say that the Free Syrian Army is now stronger," McCain said. "In fact, they have been badly, badly damaged."
"Well, that's not that I said, Senator," Carney countered. "If I could, sir, what I said is, if we know a great deal more now about the makeup of the opposition."
"Come on, Jay, we knew all about them then," McCain quipped. "You just didn't choose to know. I was there in Syria."
"We we knew about them. Come on, you guys were the ones — it's your boss was the one when the entire national security team wanted to arm and train them that he turned them down, Mr. Carney," he continued.
[sharequote align="right"]"No, facts are stubborn things, Mr. Carney..."[/sharequote]
Carney then told the Arizona senator that they would "have to agree to disagree" on the issue, but McCain wasn't ready to let the argument go.
"No, facts are stubborn things, Mr. Carney, and that is his entire national security team, including the Secretary of State, said we want to arm and train and equip these people and he made the unilateral decision to turn them down," McCain said. "The fact he didn't a residual force in Iraq, overruling all of his military advisers, is the reason why we're facing ISIS today."
"So the facts are stubborn things in history and people ought to know them," he added. "And now the president is saying basically that we are going to take certain actions, which I would favor, but to say that America is safer, and that the situation is very much like Yemen and Somalia, shows me that the president really doesn't have a grasp for how serious the threat of ISIS is."
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter