WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama responded to critics of his policy on Syria and his hesitation to arm the rebels, saying their criticisms are "horse[expletive]."
During an interview with The Atlantic, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasted the president's decision not to arm rebels in Syria, claiming his approach allowed the militant Islamic State (IS) to gain a foothold in the region. She added that his foreign policy slogan, "Don't do stupid stuff," is not the organizing principle of a great nation.
Obama seemed to know of the forthcoming criticism a week prior to the interview. The Daily Beast reports that the president called the criticisms "horse[expletive]" during a meeting with Senate and House leaders at the White House.
The remark reportedly came during an exchange with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which the senator had some harsh words for the president regarding his approach on Syria, ISIS, Russia and Ukraine. Obama defended his policy in Syria, and slammed his critics for their claims.
The White House confirmed the exchange between Corker and the president, but refrained from commenting on whether or not Obama used the expletive. Some Democrats who attended the meeting also disagreed with Obama, but used lighter language.
"The president still feels very strongly that we are deluding ourselves if we think American intervention in Syria early on by assisting these rebels would have made a difference," said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "He still believes that. I disagree, respectfully. They were not looking for U.S. troops, they were looking for help and the Syria civil war started with the most noblest of causes."