Jeb: Obama ‘living in alternative universe’ on Syria

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is scoffing at the Obama administration's claim that its 2015 accomplishments include "bringing peace" to Syria, which has been embroiled in civil war for more than three years.

“To suggest that Syria is at peace today?” Bush asked on Fox News Monday evening. "Man, they’re living in an alternative universe. This is devastation."

The 2016 Republican presidential candidate said the State Department's claim is completely divorced from facts on the ground.


“Sometimes I’m befuddled by why people in Washington, D.C., say the things that they say because they know it is not grounded in reality.”

Bush argued that atrocities from Syrian leader Bashar Assad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) undermine both Obama’s claims and policies on the Middle East.

Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him MORE talked about red lines and never backed it up,” he said. “250,000-plus people have died because of Assad, and the brutality of ISIS in the form of a caliphate is horrific,” Bush said.

“Now there are four million refugees creating big instability in the region and a breeding ground for jihadists all over the world. This has to be dealt with in Syria.”

The State Department is under fire for naming “bringing peace” to Syria one of its biggest accomplishments in 2015 late last week. That claim originated in a Dec. 24 blog post by Jack Kirby, the assistant secretary of State for the bureau of public affairs.

Deputy spokesman Mark Toner defended Kirby’s assessment as a “truthful claim” during a press conference on Monday.

“Now look, the operative word there is bringing, not brought, so we’re bringing peace and security to Syria,” he told reporters. "We’re not there yet, we recognize that, but we do believe through a lot of hard, diplomatic spade work, we have made progress.”

Critics say that Syria remains in dire straits given the massive outpouring of refugees from the war-torn nation. The Syrian civil war has raged since 2011. The conflict is further complicated by the rise of ISIS and its self-described caliphate there.