Kerry: Syria Would Be Fine if Assad Would ‘Go Off Into the Sunset As Most People Do After a Period in Public Life’

Secretary of State John Kerry effectively scolded Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on Morning Joe Tuesday, venting that if only he were to step down and "go off into the sunset as most people do after a period of public life" that the war-torn nation could have a bright future.

"You could end this violence within a very short period of time, have a complete cease-fire which Iran could control, which Russia could control, which Syria could control, and which we and our coalition friends could control, if one man would merely make it known to the world that he doesn't have to be part of the long-term future," Kerry said. "He'll help manage Syria out of this mess, and then go off into the sunset as most people do after a period of public life.

"If he were to do that, then you could stop the violence and quickly move to a management. So this really all hinges on one person's choice and on the supporters of that person who insist that he is the essential ingredient to the future. He's not, and you cannot bring peace in Syria as long as Assad is in fact there."

The Obama administration has demanded for years that Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, "must go." He is backed by the Russians, however, and president Vladimir Putin has insisted that Assad provides "stability" and must play a role in fighting the Islamic State terrorist group, which has used the violent strife in Syria as a recruitment tool.