A college student left former Florida governor — and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate — Jeb Bush all but speechless after confronting him for his brother George W. Bush’s role in the Iraq War, the Independent is reporting.
Speaking at a Town Hall-style meeting Wednesday evening in Reno, Nevada, Bush claimed that Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, in particular pulling troops out of Iraq, created the environment that has allowed ISIS to grow and gain power in the region.
A college student, identified as 19-year-old Ivy Ziedrich from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, wanting to confront Bush about his statements on Obama’s role in the rise of ISIS, asked the politician if he’d take a question from the audience.
“It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military were forced out — they had no employment, they had no income, and they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons. Your brother created ISIS.”
Taken aback by the remarks, Bush asked the young lady if she intended to ask a question, according to CNN. So ask a question she did.
“Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? Why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?”
Bush continued to insist that Obama was to blame for ISIS.
“We respectfully disagree, we have a disagreement… [We] had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress. The result was the opposite occurred. Immediately, that void was filled. Look, we can rewrite history all you want. But the simple fact is that we are in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.”
All in all, it wasn’t a good night for Jeb Bush. In addition to being called on the carpet by a college student barely old enough to vote, the potential candidate — who has yet to make anything official — may have inadvertently let slip that he’s running in 2016.
“I am running for president in 2016. And the focus is going to be about how – if I run – you create high, sustained economic growth where more people have a chance at economic success.”
It remains to be seen whether Jeb Bush’s brother’s record on Iraq and the Middle East — and, in particular, ISIS — will play a role in his campaign, should he officially decide to run.