During an interview on Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate and billionaire mogul Donald Trump called the invasion of Iraq a mistake but denied describing the invasion of Afghanistan as such, marking a difference from comments he made earlier this month.
Trump received publicity when he criticized rival Jeb Bush’s comments about former President George W. Bush keeping the American people safe even though 9/11 occurred under his watch.
Following those comments, Trump told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that he believes he would have had a better chance at keeping the U.S. protected if he were in office.
“This all started because Jeb made the statement that ‘under my brother we were safe,'” Trump said. “Well, he would have qualified by saying ‘after the attack,’ but he didn’t do that.”
Trump continued, “You can say ‘yes, we did well after,’ but then we also made mistakes there, because yes we were safe in a sense, but we went into Iraq, which was a disastrous decision, just a disastrous decision. Not Afghanistan, because that’s probably where we should have gone in the first place. But Iraq was a disastrous decision.”
Trump claimed that while he wasn’t saying he could have prevented the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, he does think that he would have had a chance because he is “pretty good at this stuff.”
“I would have had a much tougher visa program, the visas are too easy,” said Trump, who also claimed that while the CIA warned of a possible attack, the main U.S. intelligence agencies weren’t working together.
“Then we went out and we attacked the wrong country,” Trump said. “We went out and attacked Iraq, they had no weapons of mass destruction, as you know and as we found out.”
Trump’s most recent comments contradict an earlier interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Oct. 6 when Trump was asked whether he thought keeping boots on the ground in Afghanistan was a good idea.
“I wouldn’t totally disagree with it, except, you know, at some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years?” Trump replied.
“We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,” Trump continued. “We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And it’s a mess. It’s a mess. And at this point, you probably have to [stay] because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.”
When Camerota questioned Trump about his previous comments during Tuesday’s interview, he insisted that he “never said” that the U.S. made a mistake by invading Afghanistan.
“We made a mistake going into Iraq,” Trump said. “I’ve never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan.” Trump denied making the October 6 comments about Afghanistan despite Camerota reading his comments on air back to him, as shown in the above-embedded video.
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