Donald Trump has made a lot of hay out of his supposed opposition to the 2003 Iraq War. It forms the basis of his attacks on George W. Bush and by extension his brother Jeb.
“I’m the only one on the stage that said, ‘Do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq.’ Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong,” Trump boasted in a recent debate. But if he did, it was with a pipsqueak. Trump hasn’t been able to provide any evidence he ACTUALLY opposed the war, now claiming his stance wouldn’t have been in the media because he was “just in the private sector.”
Indeed, evidence has now surfaced that directly contradicts Trump’s claim.
In an interview with Howard Stern in September, 2002, Trump was asked if he would support invading Iraq: “Yeah I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
That was in keeping with Trump’s book “The America We Deserve,” published in 2000, wherein he said that the only problem he had with George H.W. Bush’s war to liberate Kuwait was that: “I only wish, however, that he had spent three more days and properly finished the job (of removing Saddam Hussein).”
Trump’s backpedals have worked overtime in explaining this. He now claims “By the time the war started, I was against the war.”
Hmm….sort of sounds like John Kerry’s infamous 2004 explanation for why he against an $87 billion supplemental funding bill for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
In reality, the first sign that Trump opposed the war publicly came in 2004, more than a year after the March 2003 invasion. By then, as John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily points out, the public had already soured on the war – 54% telling the Gallup poll in June 2004 the war was a mistake.
Donald Trump says he is no politician, with all of the odor of manipulation, half-truths and deception that carries with it. On that, he is clearly wrong. As evidenced by his shifting – and shifty – stance on Iraq, Donald Trump is becoming a master politico.