Donald Trump offered a new reason for why, after exhaustive searches, no one has found proof he opposed the Iraq War before it began: People didn't write everything he said.
The comments are a stark difference from what The Donald said at a Republican debate in September of last year, when said he could provide 25 stories showing his early opposition to the Iraq War.
"Well, I did it in 2003. I said before that — don't forget, I wasn't a politician so people didn't write everything I said," Trump said to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd push Trump on the lack of evidence. "I was a businessperson, I was as they say, a world-class businessperson. I built a great company, I employed thousands of people so I'm not a politician but if you look at 2003, there are articles. If you look at 2004, there are articles -- in fact, I saw somebody commenting on it last night, that Trump really was against the war."
In September, asked about his Iraq War opposition, Trump said this:
"You can check it out, check out — I'll give you 25 different stories."
A detailed search by BuzzFeed News in September (and other news organization in recent days) did not produce evidence at all Trump opposed the war before the March 2003 start.
The week the war started Trump was quoted as saying it was turning into a "mess" but also said the war would positively impact the stock market, causing it "to go up like a rocket."
Similarly his 2000 book, The America We Deserve Trump noted Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and targeted Iraq strikes had little impact on their overall capabilities. The Donald said the best course might be against Iraq to "carry the mission to its conclusion."
Consider Iraq. After each pounding from U.S . warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq's crash program to become a nuclear power. They've got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They've got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don't even know for sure if they've laid their hands on that yet. That's what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn't let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don't know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I'm no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don't, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.
In August 2004 Trump turned loud and vocally against the war in an interview with Esquire, more than a year after it started and it was clear after the initial successes an insurgency was developing.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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