- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A frustrated President Obama offered up a very un-presidential response to lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle who say he could have averted Islamic State atrocities with stronger Syrian policy, reportedly calling such suggestions “horse [expletive].”

The Daily Beast reported that Mr. Obama held a White House meeting with about a dozen Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate right before they went on August break.

At least one in attendance said Mr. Obama lost his cool when it was suggested that he could have held off much of the IS crisis in the Middle East by arming rebel fighters in Syria at an early stage, The Daily Beast said.

Reportedly, Sen. Bob Corker asked Mr. Obama a lengthy question about his foreign policy, before issuing some rebukes on White House responses to Ukraine and Syria. And that’s when Mr. Obama lashed back, Mr. Corker said, Newsmax reported.

Mr. Obama called suggestions that arming rebels in Syria could have prevented the rise of the Islamic State as “horse [expletive],” The Daily Beast said.

The White House wouldn’t confirm the presidential outburst, but did say the president and Mr. Corker had a back-and-forth. But Democrat Rep. Elliot Engel said that while Mr. Obama did defend his policies, he didn’t overhear any explicit 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,” Mr. Engel said, The Daily Beast reported. “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.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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