Senator John McCain on Sunday attacked the US president for citing climate change as a threat to national security, suggesting that the Obama administration’s focus on environmental issues was detracting from the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
The comments by the Senate armed services committee chairman were part of a rotating blame game over the Memorial Day weekend about who is responsible for recent gains by Isis fighters, who last week took control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
“There is no strategy, and anybody who says there is, I’d like to hear what it is,” McCain said, appearing on CBS News. “Because it certainly isn’t apparent. Right now we are seeing these horrible reports, in Palmyra, they’re executing people and leaving their bodies in the streets.
“Meanwhile the president of the United States is saying that the biggest problem we have is climate change.”
In a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy last week, President Barack Obama said climate change posed an “immediate risk”.