Did Donald Trump Actually Support the War in Iraq?

February 19th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has prided himself on his opposition to the Iraq War — a point which he has used to tout his foreign policy savvy and criticize fellow contenders on their war records.

But the business mogul's story may not be as straightforward as he indicates.

On Thursday night, BuzzFeed News reporters Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott published a story containing a 2002 interview from the Howard Stern Show in which Trump indicated support for invading the country.

"Are you for invading Iraq?" asked Stern.

"Yeah I guess so," Trump replied. "I wish the first time it was done correctly."

This was a major issue at last week's Republican debate in South Carolina after Trump targeted fellow contender Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, was the architect of the Iraq War. "Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake," Trump said at the debate.

"We should've never been in Iraq," he continued.

The BuzzFeed report points to examples in which Trump has touted his disapproval of the war before it began — a record that has been somewhat difficult to pin down. On a "Meet the Press" appearance earlier this month, Trump explained why there might not be a clear record of his position in those years because Trump "wasn't a politician."

"I was a businessperson. I was, as they say, 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 the 2004, there are articles [sic],” he said.

At a CNN Republican Townhall event on Thursday night, the candidate was asked about the Howard Stern interview. "I don't remember that, but that was probably the first time I was asked about the war," Trump said.

"I could've said that," he said. "A lot of people said that; it was so early."

"By the time the war started, I was against it, and after that I was really against it," Trump added.

h/t BuzzFeed News