Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a likely 2016 presidential candidate, faced off against a hostile college student on Wednesday.
The student, identified in reports as 19-year-old Ivy Ziedrich, introduced herself as a young Democrat attending the University of Nevada, Reno.
She quickly moved on to accuse Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, of laying the groundwork for the rise of the Islamic State jihadist group (also known as ISIS). Ziedrich argued that the US didn’t do enough to take care of former Iraqi soldiers after Geroge W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003.
“The threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi Coalition Authority which ousted the entire government of Iraq. It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military … were forced out. They had no employment. They had no income. Yet they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons,” Ziedrich said. “Your brother created ISIS.”
Jeb Bush initially wasn’t quite sure how to respond.
“Is that a question?” he asked.
“You don’t need to be pedantic to me, sir,” she replied.
Ziedrich went on to ask why Bush wouldn’t admit that the Islamic State grew out of “pointless wars” in the Middle East. To that question, Bush replied that they simply “respectfully disagree.” The former governor blamed the decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops out of Iraq during President Obama’s administration for the rise of the Islamic State’s ability to conquer vast swaths of Iraq and Syria — not the US’ initial invasion.
“We can rewrite history all you want but the simple fact is that we’re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back,” Bush told her before moving on to greet other people at the Nevada event.
Bush has struggled this week to deal with questions about his brother’s invasion of Iraq, which became widely unpopular when the country descended into chaos and no weapons of mass destruction were found. In an interview that aired on Monday, Bush said he misheard a question asking if he would have supported the invasion in hindsight. On Tuesday, he declined ot answer the “hypothetical.” On Wednesday, he implied it would be a disservice to those who died for him to call the war a mistake.
Watch his exchange with Ziedrich below, via ABC News:
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