Report: Obama had strong words for GOP critic of Syria policy

The Daily Beast claims the president told an angry Republican senator that his argument was ... not great

Published August 12, 2014 2:17PM (EDT)

          (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

During a closed-door meeting with a group of lawmakers from both parties earlier this year, President Obama testily referred to arguments for arming Syrian rebels — and against his policy of minimal involvement in that country's horrific civil war — as "horseshit," the Daily Beast reports.

According to the Daily Beast, Obama flashed a bit of anger in response to a long and pointed question-cum-criticism of his foreign policy from Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. Obama reportedly responded with a long answer, defending his administration's actions on a number of fronts, from Ukraine to Russia to Iraq to Syria.

During this extended answer, Obama referred to the idea that arming and training the Syrian rebels in the early stages of the civil war could have led to a better result today as "horseshit." The White House confirmed the conversation took place but would not comment on Obama's specific language.

Obama's skepticism that arming Syrian rebels would have benefited the United States is not new or unknown. In a recent interview with the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, Obama said the belief that U.S. involvement could've helped the so-called good guys in Syria "a fantasy."

"This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah — that was never in the cards," Obama said.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Barack Obama Bob Corker Foreign Policy Isis Middle East Syria The Daily Beast Thomas Friedman