Throughout his campaign Donald Trump has repeatedly panned the 2011 U.S. intervention in Libya — most recently in a tweet blasting Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.
But Trump supported the intervention, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported — including in a forceful interview just after the military action began.
In an interview on Fox and Friends Trump blasted President Obama for not intervening in the country earlier, saying he should have targeted longtime leader Muammar al-Qaddafi for assassination.
"Well, I think he's been very late," Trump said in March 2011, asked what he thought of U.S. airstrikes in the country. "I thought of it really as a humanitarian thing, let's save some of these people. And, two weeks later, thousands and thousands of people have been killed. If he would have done this two and a half weeks ago you might have stopped the whole thing."
Trump said the president's refusal to bomb sooner had left the rebels dissipated and unable to topple the Libyan dictator. He also said the Arab League should have paid the United States for the military action.
"If you're going to do it, you really should have done it earlier."
Later in the interview, Trump called for the assassination of Qaddafi saying any prospect of him remaining in power was a loss for the United States.
"It's a total mess he should have done it earlier," said Trump.
"They're shooting all the Tomahawks but please don't send one his way because you may hurt him, isn't it rather unbelievable," Trump continued. "No way this comes out, where he remains the leader where the United States wins. In other words, we lose. Any scenario where he stays in power – he can negotiate some kind of a treaty – any scenario where he stays in power we're the losers."
Trump has claimed that he would have opposed the Libyan intervention and painted that supposed opposition as an indication of his good judgment — for instance, he recently said on Morning Joe that he wouldn't have intervened in Libya. (Trump also claimed to have never even discussed the subject of Libya at the time during a debate.)
BuzzFeed News reported earlier this year that he had strongly urged for the intervention in a video blog.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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