Maddow: Fox hosts calling for assault weapons ban 'unsettling' for GOP lawmakers
Rachel Maddow discusses gun policy on June 16, 2016. (MSNBC)

MSNBC Rachel Maddow pointed to Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) quick backtracking on Thursday as a sign that Republican lawmakers are in an awkward position as the gun safety discussion continues after last weekend's mass shooting in Orlando.


"I think the strain is showing a little bit," Maddow said.

Earlier in the day, McCain argued that President Barack Obama was "directly responsible" for the massacre that resulted in the deaths of nearly 50 people because of his Middle East policy, only to release a statement saying that he "misspoke."

While it's uncertain what will happen after Sen. Chris Murphy's (D-CT) filibuster on Wednesday calling for universal background checks on gun purchases, Maddow argued, Republicans are showing signs of disorganization in their response.

She attributed that in part to polling showing broad bipartisan support for the idea -- and statements by Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson and Bill O'Reilly calling for bans on assault rifles.

"That has got to be a little unsettling to Republican elected officials, right?" Maddow asked. "They know they're against public opinion on this subject. But they count on Republican TV -- they count on Fox News Channel to tell them what to think, what to say about it, and how to vote on this issue assuming that conservative media will have their back. If Fox News is a little wobbly on this issue, that's gonna put Republican elected officials under even more strain."

Watch Maddow's commentary, as aired on Thursday, below.