Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Syria Thursday, calling her statement about peace talks with Israel “nonsensical,” and the visit an example of “bad behavior.”
On Wednesday Pelosi conveyed to Syrian President Bashar Assad that Israel was open to peace talks with Syria. Israel quickly clarified that its policy on Syria had not changed.
“It was a non-statement, nonsensical statement and didn’t make any sense at all that she would suggest that those talks could go forward as long as the Syrians conducted themselves as a prime state sponsor of terror,” Cheney said in an interview Thursday with talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
The White House previously had criticized Pelosi’s trip, saying her presence rewards Syria’s support for groups deemed to be terrorist organizations. Cheney added, “It is, in fact, bad behavior on her part.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill responded that President Bush has not addressed the need, cited by the Iraq Study Group, for “tough negotiations” with Iraq’s neighbors.
“All we hear from the administration is the cold-shoulder strategy, which has been completely ineffective,” Hammill said.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) also visited Syria Thursday. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe declined to comment on Issa specifically, but said the administration discourages official visits to the country.
“The administration's position on members of Congress, Democrat or Republican, [visiting Syria] is very clear: We do not think it's productive; we do not think it is useful; we do not think it is helpful,” Johndroe said.