Trump mocks State Department's 2015 boast of peace in Syria

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill
REUTERS

When State Department spokesperson John Kirby listed "bringing peace, security to Syria" as one of the administration's pivotal foreign policy moments of the year, it drew widespread criticism -- from conservative commentators, mainstream media outlets, and now Donald Trump.

"The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need," Kirby wrote in a blog post summing up the department's 2015 accomplishments. "The United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011. Led by Secretary Kerry, the United States also continues to push for a political transition in Syria."

Right-leaning website RedState deemed the post a "blatant" lie.

Of the headline, Foreign Policy magazine derided it as "hard to argue that the United States brought any significant 'peace' or 'security' to the Syrian people."

The State Department later defended Kirby, saying that he had made a "truthful" claim.

"The operative word there is bringing, not brought, so we're bringing peace and security to Syria," deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Monday. "We're not there yet. We recognize that. But we do believe through a lot of hard diplomatic spadework that we have made progress."

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wasn't going to let the State Department get off easily for their characterization.

At a rally in South Carolina, Trump lambasted the "mistake" in front of a large audience.

"Instead of saying they made a mistake -- call it a typo, they made a mistake -- they're trying to justify it. 'Well, we meant we are working on it,'" he mocked Wednesday. "Can you believe 'bringing peace to Syria?' The world is blowing up. The migration from Syria. They say one of their achievements for the year is bringing peace to Syria and the whole world is talking about it."

"It is the level of stupidity that is incredible. I'm telling you, I used to use the word incompetent," Trump added.

On the campaign trail, Trump has detailed his own solutions to resolving the conflict in Syria, which include creating a "beautiful" safe zone in the country.