Assad: lack of experience ‘dangerous’ in US presidential election

Published July 14th, 2016 - 07:20 GMT
Assad pictured during a previous interview with the BBC (Youtube / BBC)
Assad pictured during a previous interview with the BBC (Youtube / BBC)

One might think Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would’ve found Donald Trump’s pro-Putin sentiments appealing. Or perhaps he may have sought to endorse Hillary Clinton to portray himself as an empowerer of women. But Assad said he supports neither candidate on Thursday in an interview with NBC.

According to NBC, Assad said that a candidate without significant experience is “dangerous for the country generally,” in an apparent shot at likely Republican nominee Trump, the real estate giant and television star who has never held elected office.

Assad then went on to say that presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton lacked the necessary experience when they took office. “None of them had any experience,” he said. “This is the problem with the United States.” NBC also paraphrased him as saying that “a few years” in Congress or international relations does not count.

This comment is more likely aimed at Hillary Clinton, who served just one term in the Senate before becoming Obama’s secretary of state for four years. But Assad was also careful to stress that he's not paying much attention to the political race, and will look closer at the candidates when they're actually elected. 

Actually, Assad isn’t exactly rich in political experience either. He was trained as an eye doctor in Syria and the UK, and wasn’t ever supposed to become president. But when his brother and then heir to the presidency Bassel died, he was recalled to Syria from London, and served in the army under his father Hafez al-Assad. He became president in 2000 upon the elder’s Assad death.

Whoever Americans choose this November, they will have a lot on their plate pertaining to Syria’s five-year-long civil war, experience or not.

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