During a closed-door meeting, former President George W. Bush made rare remarks criticizing President Barack Obama for his handling of foreign policy matters like the nuclear deal with Iraq and the growing threat of Islamic State group.
In the meeting on April 25, Bush told a crowd of 700 Republican Jewish Coalition supporters that he would not criticize Obama, though he did weigh in on prominent foreign matters in a way that many viewed as critical of the current president’s job performance.
Bush dismissed Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear negotiations, with the guarantee they could be put back in place at any moment, as unrealistic and not doable.
“You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks at the Las Vegas event. “That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
Bush also heavily criticized Obama for his policies on fighting Islamic State group — saying that although he promised to degrade and destroy the terrorist organization, he didn’t follow through with a strategy to do so.
“In order to be an effective president ... when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”
“When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed,” Bush added.
During the event, Bush also offered his views on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama pulling troops out of Iraq — which he acknowledged by quoting Sen. Lindsay Graham, calling it a “strategic blunder” — and his brother Jeb’s potential bid for president in 2016.
Regarding Jeb’s possible campaign, Bush held firm to an earlier acknowledgment that he would be a political liability to his brother as a nominee. Bush told the audience of supporters that he feared the Bush name could be used against Jeb, and expressed doubt in his brother’s capability of winning because Americans “don’t like dynasties.”
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