LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Los Angeles on Monday may have come at an ideal time given the recent critical statements he made about Middle Eastern allies.
For the past four days, Biden has been under fire in Washington, D.C., after the remarks that were made Thursday at Harvard University.
He charged that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were supporting groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and unintentionally helping Islamic terrorist groups at the same time.
Specifically, he stated: “They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
And Biden wasn’t finished.
He went on to say Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, had revealed to him in a private conversation that they were slow to cut off the stream of fighters crossing the border to join ISIS, sometimes referred to as ISIL.
“President Erdoğan told me, he’s an old friend, he said, ‘You were right. We let too many people through.’ Now, they’re trying to seal their border,” Biden said.
Over the weekend, it became clear that Biden had lit a diplomatic firestorm with some of the most important Middle Eastern countries to the U.S.-led national coalition to fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Erdoğan demanded an apology from Biden and received one, as did the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
The White House is reportedly concerned that Biden’s remarks could undermine the coalition, which Turkey just joined last week.
In Brentwood, KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan asked the president of the Los Angeles Turkish American Association if she is concerned about that.
“Do you think this will be damaging temporarily in this relationship,” Bryan asked.
“I really don’t think so,” said Yasemin Elmas. “I think of it as a little hiccup between the two countries because it is a very stressful time in the region.”
She continued: “To be honest with you, I really didn’t think of it as important as it became to be.”
Late Monday, Biden was in Brentwood to raise funds for the Democratic candidates running in the midterm elections, which are less than one month away. Tickets for the event were $2,500 per person. On Tuesday, Biden is expected to appear with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The two-day visit to the Southland is part of a larger swing through the West Coast that includes four states and six cities. For live updates on traffic conditions, tune-in to KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.