Did Trump Support The Iraq War? The Evidence Is Clear That He Did

As proof of his stellar foreign policy experience, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has frequently claimed that he did not support the Iraq War. However – as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pointed out at the NBC Commander-in-Chief forum yesterday – Trump did in fact support the war in the beginning and there is clear audio and video evidence backing this up.

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As Clinton herself noted Wednesday night at the forum, it’s only necessary to look back at interviews Trump gave prior to the Iraq War to find him fully supporting the concept of invading Iraq. ABC News has reported that the only reluctance Trump showed about the Iraq War during a 2002 Howard Stern interview was when he suggested it should have been done right during the first Iraq War under President Bush senior.

Composite image of former US President George W. Bush and his serving Secretary of State Colin Powell.
(FILE PHOTO) In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US President George W. Bush and his serving Secretary of State Colin Powell. ***LEFT IMAGE*** WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that Iraq is in "material breach" of a UN disarmament resolution December 19, 2002 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Powell, describing Iraq's 12,000 page arms declaration as a catalog of "recycled information and flagrant omissions," said that the breach will not automatically trigger war. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that Iraq is in "material breach" of a UN disarmament resolution December 19, 2002 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Powell, describing Iraq's 12,000 page arms declaration as a catalog of "recycled information and flagrant omissions," said that the breach will not automatically trigger war. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the LA Times notes, the Trump campaign has pointed to an interview in 2003 with Neil Cavuto as proof that he opposed the war early on. However, a careful reading of this discussion reveals only slight reticence on the part of Trump for the war.

In this interview about Iraq, Trump was less interested in opposing the war than pointing out that it wasn’t going so well. In fact, he and Cavuto found the time to go into a discussion about the possibility of profiting from the war.

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Donald Trump’s early support for the war in Iraq and his shift away from such support later is a typical Trumpian maneuver. The Republican nominee has demonstrated over the last year a remarkable capacity for altering his position and contradicting his own prior statements to suit the needs of the moment.

In the case of his support for the Iraq War, Trump is a perfect example of what Thomas Payne referred to as a “sunshine soldier and summer patriot.” When things seemed to be going very well in Iraq, Trump was all for it. But when things went bad by 2004, Trump was suddenly opposed.

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Hindsight may be 20/20, but Donald Trump seems to have refined the concept to a fine art. While this ability may have served him well in the corridors of business, it’s not quite so effective in a candidate for president of the United States.

One of Trump’s principal problems regarding his support for the war in Iraq is that he has shifted his position so many times over the years he’s forgotten where he thinks he stands. While he feels that he can use his pretense of opposition to the Iraq War as a political weapon against Hillary Clinton, the truth is, this isn’t a weapon he has in his arsenal.

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In fact, the lack of intellectual resources at Trump’s disposal is painfully obvious. It’s startling to realize that the Republican nominee for president knows absolutely nothing – nothing whatsoever – about foreign policy, international relations, the military, or even economics.

While supposedly a “successful” businessman, Trump’s multiple bankruptcies suggest he wouldn’t even be very good at running the United States economy. Trump’s ability to out-boast and bully those around him is not a sufficient skill set for being president of the United States.

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Trump’s absolute ineptitude when it comes to foreign policy issues like the war in Iraq, relations with NATO, or the battle against ISIS in Syria makes it painfully clear that he is simply unqualified – in every way – to be our next president. During private Republican briefings on foreign policy matters, Trump has repeatedly asked why he simply couldn’t use nuclear weapons against United States adversaries. So there is major cause for concern about the idea of Donald Trump leading the free world.

[Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images]