Former Obama Security Advisor Susan Rice Calls Hug From Trump 'Totally Gross' in Twitter Clash Over Syria

President Donald Trump and Susan Rice, the former national security advisor to President Barack Obama, traded a series of barbs on Friday after Rice appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.

Rice appeared on the late-night talk show to discuss her newly published book, Tough Love, but also criticized Trump on a range of foreign policy decisions.

Trump appeared to have watched the interview, setting off an exchange of fiery tweets between the two.

"What Trump has done in Iraq and now Syria is in effect cede a portion of northern Syria—the Kurdish homeland—to the Turks," Rice said on Real Time.

"We've left our Kurdish allies homeless—they're now going to scatter throughout the region—and we've given [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Iranians a green light to take over that territory that they've been long wanting to take.

"ISIS,"—Rice said in reference to the Islamic State militant group—"is now going to come back."

Trump took to Twitter immediately after the show and called Rice a "disaster."

"Susan Rice, who was a disaster to President Obama as National Security Advisor, is now telling us her opinion on what to do in Syria," he said.

"Remember RED LINE IN THE SAND? That was Obama. Millions killed! No thanks Susan, you were a disaster," Trump added.

In response to Trump's Friday night tweet, the former security advisor pointed to hypocrisy on Trump's behalf, stating he had previously commended her for the work she had done in her role.

Rice tweeted: "Then why did you come up and hug me at 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner when I'd never met you (which was totally gross) and whisper in my ear that I had been 'very unfairly treated' over Benghazi and 'was doing a great job for the country'?"

Then why did you come up and hug me at 2015 WHCD when I’d never met you (which was totally gross) and whisper in my ear that I had been “very unfairly treated” over Benghazi and “was doing a great job for the country”?

— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 19, 2019

Prior to the back-and-forth with Trump, Rice had discussed the 2012 Benghazi attack with Maher in which four Americans were killed.

"Benghazi was a horrible tragedy. We lost four Americans including our ambassador," she said.

"But what we're going to lose as a result of what Donald Trump has done in Syria is that we're going to have a whole terrorist resurgence as a result of his pullout so we'll see the ramifications of that in American and allied lives—I'm afraid—for years to come."


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013

Trump's "red line in the sand" comments in his tweet refer to threats Obama made to Syra's President Basar al-Assad in Syria in 2012, where Obama said the U.S. would attack the country if chemical weapons were used. The following year, Assad was alleged to have used sarin gas in an attack on Ghouta, however, Obama's threats were never followed up. The U.S. military had geared up and was prepared to attack but Obama made a surprising decision to back down.

Trump himself was against the proposed attack, tweeting in 2013: "To our very foolish leader, do not attack Syria. If you do, many very bad things will happen and from that fight the U.S. gets nothing!"

Following Trump's withdrawal from northern Syria last week—which critics say cleared the way for Turkey to launch a military operation in the country—Turkey is now facing its own allegations of chemical weapons use after reports emerged that white phosphorus-based munitions are believed to have been used in the border town of Ras al-Ayn.

A spokesperson for the U.N.'s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) told Newsweek that it is aware of the allegations and it is investigating, stating it was too early to determine the credibility of the reports, however.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks at the J Street 2018 National Conference April 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. She traded a series of barbs with President Donald Trump after appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO on Friday. Getty