Last night at the disreputable MSNBC townhall in South Carolina, Donald Trump amplified …that goes without saying… on his self-proclaimed role as prophet of doom about the invasion of Iraq. I’m only giving you this extended bit of the transcript so you can see for yourself the utterly feckless way that Joe Scarborough let Donald Trump get away with all manner of crap:
TRUMP: But he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Now, the only question is did the government know he didn’t? Why did they go in — look, Iraq did not knock down and the Iraqis did not knock down the World Trade Center —
TRUMP: OK? So we attacked Iraq but they didn’t knock down the World Trade Center. We attacked them for a reason. They didn’t knock down the World Trade Center —
SCARBOROUGH: Did you believe in 2003 in March when we went to war that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction —
TRUMP: I didn’t know. If you would have watched you would have probably thought they did but I didn’t know. But the government should have known and they didn’t have. And we attacked a country and destabilized the entire Middle East. Look —
SCARBOROUGH: Fine. So a lot of people obviously are sorting through this. So help us sort through this —
TRUMP: OK. Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: So you said that there are comments that you’ve made before we went to war. Nobody can find those. I’ve seen two comments —
TRUMP: Excuse me Joe, Joe —
SCARBOROUGH: Right after we went to war at that time —
TRUMP: I’m a real estate person, I’m a business person —
TRUMP: Nobody cared about my comment. In 2003 you saw comments. I was against the war.
SCARBOROUGH: So —
TRUMP: In 2004 —
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, this is what I want to talk about. In 2003, you said two things. I believe a couple of days after you were recorded saying it was going to be a disaster but you also said in another quote right after we went in that it would be great for the stock market. Are those —
TRUMP: Well, I’m not saying great for the stock market doesn’t mean do it. Look —
TRUMP: I said the war is a disaster because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I said it long before 2003 but I’m not a politician. I’m not saying it as a — now I say things as I guess I’m a politician I hate to say —
SCARBOROUGH: So what does that mean going forward?
TRUMP: No, no. Let me tell you what it means. It means the following. Somebody had vision. I’m the only one that said don’t go in and I said it 2003, I said it 2004. Now, a couple of people in your world said, “you know what, we don’t have any evidence” and he said it before which I did. But I said it to people —
TRUMP: It doesn’t mean they’re going to put it in the newspapers as a business person. But they said, “he really said it right after the war started that we” — and there’s plenty of proof of that. There’s headlines and magazines. Don’t go into the war. You’re going to destabilize the Middle East.
And I said Iran will take over Iraq. Iran will get the oil. I said all of these things and on top of it I didn’t — nobody knew ISIS. But on top of it I said, the worst, meanest group of people and the people who hate the most, they’re going to do the best. That turns out to be ISIS. I also said and the oil —
SCARBOROUGH: So where did you say this?
TRUMP: I said it all over the place. It’s written all over the place, Joe — 2003, 2004 headlines and articles. I would —
TRUMP: Look, nobody’s questioning about my being against the war. What they are saying is, “well, he was a little bit after the war.” A couple of people in your world said, “that’s OK because he was early on — very early on he was against.”
The facts are really quite different. For instance, in his 1999 book The America We Deserve, Trump took just the opposite view of attacking Iraq.
“It is madness to not carry the mission to its conclusion.”
What you see here is what we’ve noted over and over again. Donald Trump’s opinions are not based on study or thought because he has never studied or thought about very much other than making money, avoiding the consequences of is disastrous business judgment, and general self-aggrandizement. His opinions are formed by the smart-set Upper West Side crowd he socializes with. In 1999, Bill Clinton was president. So naturally, if Bill Clinton went to war in Iraq it was a brilliant idea. By 2004, George Bush was president and Trump’s Iraq War rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of Susan Sarandon or any other leftwing nutbag.