Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump proclaims in nearly every stump speech that he had the “vision” to oppose the US’ invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But a Thursday-night BuzzFeed report undermined that claim.
The outlet unearthed a September 11, 2002, interview in which Trump halfheartedly stated his support for the war.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said then when directly asked by Howard Stern if he was “in favour of invading Iraq.”
The real-estate mogul was asked about his 2002 comments during two separate interviews Friday morning.
On “Good Morning America,” Trump insisted his Stern interview was “long before the war started.” The US invasion began in March of 2003. Trump also said his statement to Stern was “not exactly strongly in favour” of the war.
“By the time the war began, I was saying — and I’m on record as saying — that we shouldn’t go into Iraq,” Trump said Friday.
However, host George Stephanopoulos was incredulous. Trump has repeatedly professed that he strongly opposed the Iraq War, but the main piece of evidence for that claim is from the summer of 2004. His statements about the war in early 2003 were fairly ambiguous, according to PolitiFact.
“But you’re not on record at all opposing the war before it began. There is simply no evidence of that, sir,” Stephanopoulos told Trump.
“There is evidence and I’ll find evidence. Because I was against the war,” Trump replied.
“We look forward to seeing that evidence of you being against it before the war began,” Stephanopoulos said.
In another Friday-morning interview, Trump was also pressed about the BuzzFeed report. Trump insisted on the “Today” show that he was a simple layman at the time of his 2002 Stern interview. He said he developed much stronger opinions about the war before it began.
That was long before the war started. By the time the war started — and you have documentation of this — by the time the war started, I was against it. And you see articles in 2003. Don’t forget: I wasn’t a politician. Nobody really cared about my opinion. That was just a question that was asked to me. I was a civilian. I was an entrepreneur.
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