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What is John McCain even talking about?

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the senator made some puzzling remarks regarding the Orlando terror attack, claiming that “Barack Obama is directly responsible for it.”

Lest anyone think McCain had bought into Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory, his office quickly released a clarifying statement. He never meant to imply that the president is “personally” responsible, only his “national security decisions,” including Obama’s failure to stop the rise of ISIS.

Still, McCain is missing the point, whatever way you spin it. There’s no evidence that Omar Mateen was an actual member of ISIS, or that ISIS had any involvement in the attack. So far, what happened in Orlando appears to be domestic terror. In putting the blame on foreign enemies—rather than focusing on issues of gun control and our treatment of LGBTQ people of color—McCain is using the tragedy to ride his well-worn hobbyhorse.

June 26, 2019

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Welcome to TNR’s coverage of the Democratic debates.

Yes, the debates are upon us, a mere 16 months before voters will cast their ballots to decide whether President Trump should get a second term. In that time, babies will be conceived and born, the earth will orbit the sun and then some, and Democrats will, with any luck, choose a champion from the two dozen candidates running for the nomination. It all begins tonight, with the first of two debates in Miami this week featuring the 20 candidates—ten each round—who qualified to participate by either polling at 1 percent in three surveys or receiving 65,000 individual donations.

The staff of The New Republic will be watching the proceedings, offering running commentary and post-debate analysis, and hopefully answering any questions readers might have. Who’s up, who’s down? Who, if anyone, seems qualified to stall America’s spiraling descent into a fiery wasteland overseen by Trumpian kleptocrats? And who is Eric Swalwell, anyway? Pop by TNR’s Minutes blog at 9 o’clock EST tonight and tomorrow night to find out!