Donald Trump expressed doubts over the Iraq war in 2003, despite mainstream media claims to the contrary.
In a Jan. 28, 2003 interview with Fox News – nearly two months before the invasion of Iraq – Trump voiced his reservations about the impending war, stating that the economy was a “much bigger problem.”
“[President Bush] has either got to do something [about Iraq] or not do something, perhaps because he shouldn’t be doing it yet [considering war]… and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations,” he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
Trump also criticized Bush’s indecisiveness over the war and pointed out that despite his high approval ratings at the time, people were more concerned over the economy than Iraq.
“If you look at the polls, I think a lot of people are getting a little tired… I think the Iraqi situation is a problem, but the economy is a much bigger problem,” he added.
The clip contradicts presidential debate moderator Lester Holt’s claim that Trump “supported the war in Iraq before the invasion.”
The mainstream media has also repeatedly claimed Trump fully supported the invasion, although there’s in-fighting among leftists over the specifics.
“Less than three months before the invasion, Trump said the president should be more focused on the economy, but he didn’t specifically speak against launching an attack,” Politifact claimed, obviously referring to the Fox News interview but without stating where the interview occurred.
However, Trump’s statement “perhaps because he shouldn’t be doing it yet” does express doubt over launching an attack on Iraq. That’s likely why Politifact vaguely paraphrased the interview; it contradicts its claim.
It’s also worth pointing out that, at the time, Trump was a private citizen whereas Hillary Clinton was a U.S. Senator who voted for the Iraq war. So why is the media focused so much on Trump?
Easy: they’re biased against him.
“Trump has trouble getting past a September 2002 interview with shock jock Howard Stern,” Politifact also claimed. “Stern asked Trump if he supported the looming invasion.”
“Trump responded, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’”
That doesn’t exactly sound like he was fully in support of the war, now does it?
Interestingly, Snopes, a leftist site much like Politifact, disagrees with Politifact’s assessment of the Stern interview.
“If that remark wasn’t exactly a wholehearted endorsement of the notion of invading Iraq, it clearly wasn’t an expression of opposition to the idea either,” Snopes said.
In other words, Snopes inadvertently downplayed the importance Politifact placed on the Stern interview.
Snopes, however, claimed the 2003 interview proved Trump expressed “neither support nor opposition” to the invasion despite highlighting Trump’s statement that “perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations” for a diplomatic solution.
Snopes admitted that Trump was against the war in an Aug. 2004 interview with Esquire Magazine, but claimed that “by then, this was not a particularly controversial stand to take,” which is patently false given that Cindy Sheehan’s controversial anti-war protest outside Bush’s ranch didn’t occur until 2005.