In an interview with Britain’s Piers Morgan yesterday, Donald Trump trumpeted his early opposition to the Iraq War saying “I was against going into Iraq a long time ago, I was against it from the beginning. And that was a terrible mistake going into Iraq, because it destabilized the entire Middle East.”
While most would agree with his assessment of destabilization in hindsight, is there any evidence that he opposed the Iraq war before it happened? Or “from the beginning?”
In the months prior to declaring war, James Fallows with the Atlantic made a study of what public figures were saying about the Iraq war, and wrote extensively about it. In an article last month he states that “As far as I can tell, this is one more thing he’s just making up.” He could not find any evidence that Trump had publicly spoken out against the war at the time, despite actively collecting opinions in the lead up to the war.
He links to many other articles saying the same thing. Despite repeated attempts by many talented journalists, there is no evidence of Trump publicly opposing the Iraq war before it started. Trump did apparently oppose the war well after it started, in November 2004, saying on Larry King Live “I do not believe that we made the right decision going into Iraq, but, you know, hopefully, we’ll be getting out.” That is hardly opposing it “from the beginning.”
On September 11, 2002 on the Howard Stern Show, Trump was asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq. He replied with tepid support: “Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
Here is the audio of that show. Check it at 3:42.