Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday night that it was possible he supported the invasion of Iraq during a 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern—despite his campaign’s persistent criticisms of the Iraq War and George W. Bush’s record as commander in chief. The audio was uncovered and published Thursday night by BuzzFeed.
“It was probably the first time I was asked that question,” Trump said during the televised town hall appearance on CNN. “By the time the war started, I was against the war.”
“Don’t forget, I wasn’t a politician,” Trump said. “So people didn’t write everything I said. I was a businessperson.” Watch the clip:
Donald Trump is asked about his 2002 statement supporting the Iraq invasion at #GOPTownHall https://t.co/vyObJ1iRg6https://t.co/yOMXv6C9W0
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 19, 2016
Earlier in the night, Trump attacked George W. Bush for the decision to invade Iraq, saying it “may have been the worst decision ever made by any president in history.” But he refused to repeat his earlier accusations that Bush deliberately lied to the American people.
Trump: Iraq invasion possibly worst choice made by any U.S. president. Watch: https://t.co/HAhU3M4HnF #GOPTownHall https://t.co/uvQl5Y7fSi
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) February 19, 2016
The town hall came at the end of a big day for Trump, in which Pope Francis questioned Trump’s Christianity because the mogul wants to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. (Trump said on CNN that Mexico may have put the pope up to it.)
It’s the final televised event before South Carolina’s Republican primary on Saturday.