Those who watched Monday’s presidential debate saw how Republican candidate Donald Trump got grilled by his rival Hillary Clinton and mediator Lester Holt regarding his alleged support for the war in Iraq. However, Trump’s interview clips from 2003 and 2004 revealed that he actually opposed the war.
In the first meeting between Clinton and Trump, Holt brought up the notion that the GOP nominee reportedly agreed with former president George W. Bush’s actions to invade Iraq. Like Trump’s other critics, the debate mediator referenced his 2002 interview with radio personality Howard Stern to prove his support for the war.
Trump vehemently denied the allegations and noted that he did not give a straight answer to Stern when he was asked about the war. Aside from this, he referred to his 2003 interview with Fox Broadcasting anchor Neil Cavuto.
In the interview, which was recently shared by Cavuto on Fox Business Network, Trump clearly stated that the U.S. should wait for the United Nations’ decision before entering Iraq. He also noted at that time that Bush should focus on the country’s economy first.
“Perhaps [Bush] shouldn’t be doing it yet,” he told Cavuto according to Fox News. “And perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations.”
After the U.S. entered the Middle Eastern country, Trump then became a more open critic of the administration’s actions. In 2004, he said in the August issue of Esquire that the U.S. will not be able to achieve its desired results in Iraq through the war.
He noted that even after U.S. troops leave the country, Iraq will still be in the same situation it was in before the invasion.
“Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in,” he told Esquire. “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest most vicious guy will take over. And he’ll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam [Hussein] didn’t have.”