“President al-Assad is highly loved and appreciated by the Syrians,” Kucinich said, according to the Syrian news site. “President Bashar al-Assad cares so much about what is taking place in Syria, which is evident in his effort towards a new Syria and everybody who meets him can be certain of this.”

Kucinich pushed back against the report later on Tuesday while in Beirut, calling the remarks “mistranslated.”

“Arab-speaking friends accompanying me have explained that the problem may have come from a mistranslation as well as the degree of appreciation and affection their state-sponsored media has for President Assad,” Kucinich said in a statement released to The Hill. “Given the stakes for Syria and the region, I will consider the article only an error, not a willful intent to mischaracterize my statements or my efforts in the region.”