This weekend on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd confronted Trump with his own words and the results were priceless.
Donald Trump responded to a 2002 clip where he pledged, at best, lukewarm support for the Iraq war, a war he says he does not support now, by saying, “I really don’t even know what I mean.” Back in 2002, Trump told Howard Stern on his radio show that he was for invading Iraq but that he wishes “the first time it was done correctly.”
When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd to explain what his 2002 comments meant he said:
“Well, what I mean by that is it almost shouldn’t have been done. And you know, I really don’t even know what I mean, because that was a long time ago, and who knows what was in my head. I think that it wasn’t done correctly. In retrospect, it [the Iraq War] shouldn’t have been done at all. It was sort of, you know, it was just done. It was just, we dropped bombs. Now if you look back, actually, that was probably the correct way of doing it, not going in, and not upsetting, giving them a lesson or not. I mean, I think Senior actually did a pretty good job of what he was doing. He went in, he taught them a lesson. “
The story is actually very simple. In the late 1990s, and up until 2004, American public and political opinion were very much in favor of kicking Saddam Hussein’s butt because of the non-cooperation with the IAEA and his shooting at US warplanes enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraqi Kurdistan. At that point, Trump supported the invasion because his liberal friends supported it.. Then, in 2004, the liberal winds shifted and Trump imbibed heavily of the 9/11 Trutherism and Bush-lied-people-died. And that became his opinion.
Trump has no defining principles that do not involve Donald Trump being a star. That he expressed support for the Iraq War and then quickly opposed it is simply a symptom of this problem. That he doesn’t remember what he believed about a decision like going to war is another, and more troubling, symptom that his supporters seem unwilling to contemplate.