President Barack Obama reportedly got heated during a private meeting with lawmakers last month, where he shot down criticism of his decision not to arm Syrian rebel fighters as “horsesh*t.’
The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin published a report Monday that cited two lawmakers inside the July 31 meeting who described the President as “visibly agitated” when met with bipartisan criticism of his approach to the civil war in Syria.
One of the unnamed lawmakers told Rogin that a detailed question from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who criticized a range of the Obama administration’s foreign policy approaches, prompted the President to defend his policy on Syria. The idea that arming Syrian rebels earlier on in the conflict would have led to a more desirable outcome was “horsesh*t,” Obama reportedly said.
White House officials confirmed the heated exchange to Rogin but wouldn’t confirm that Obama used that colorful language. The President previously made the same argument in an interview with CBS, calling it a “fantasy” that sending arms to Syrian rebels could put them in a position to defeat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also criticized Obama’s Syria policy in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg published this weekend.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” she said.
This post has been updated.