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Senate Challenger Jabs McCain: Actually, You're 'Directly Responsible' for Rise of Islamic State
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) attends the US Senate Hearing On The Democratic Republic Of Congo at Dirksen Senate Office Building on February 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee was hearing testimony on prospects for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes Region. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

Senate Challenger Jabs McCain: Actually, You're 'Directly Responsible' for Rise of Islamic State

"Not surprising for the ultimate establishment insider."

After Arizona Sen. John McCain walked back his claim that President Barack Obama is “directly responsible” for the Orlando terrorist attacks as the Islamic State has risen under his presidency, McCain’s GOP challenger weighed in with some blame of her own.

"I … am not afraid to place the blame right where it belongs: John McCain is 'directly responsible’ for the rise of ISIS,” former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward said in a statement Thursday evening. “Without his dangerously distracted foreign policy, we would not have this ruthless Islamic extremist organization that crucifies children, systematically rapes women, oppresses Christians, and throws homosexuals off rooftops."

Image provided to TheBlaze.

Ward continued:

"Libya and Iraq would not be the 'Harvard of terrorism’ they are now if it were not for his knee-jerk, trigger-happy foreign policy of promiscuously arming the supposedly moderate militants he says he is ‘intimate with’ and overthrowing stable, albeit unsavory regimes. He even wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years and joked about risking military lives to ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.’ Even George W. Bush and Tony Blair have admitted that the 2003 invasion of Iraq created a vacuum which allowed jihadist ideologies to flourish. Our open border has given those emboldened elements access to our country and our citizens. McCain has been complicit in all of it."

Stephen Sebastian, a spokesman for Ward's campaign, told TheBlaze Thursday that while Ward does place blame on McCain for the rise of the Islamic State, she only blames terrorists for the attacks.

"But our broken foreign policy has not kept us safe," Sebastian said.

McCain said Thursday that he simply "misspoke" when he told reporters that Obama was to blame for the massacre in an Orlando nightclub that left at least 50 people dead including the lone gunman.

"Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama's failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq," McCain, who was described as visibly angry, initially told reporters Thursday.

He has since said he didn't mean to imply the president was personally culpable which Ward also criticized. She said McCain “has once again thrown a punch at Barack Obama and immediately apologized for it, bowing to lick the boots of the political correctness police.”

"Not surprising for the ultimate establishment insider," Ward said.

Follow Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) on Twitter

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