A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Yes, Trump Said Bush ‘Lied’


Donald Trump on Fox News denied that he ever accused President George W. Bush of lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. “I didn’t say lie,” Trump said. “I said he may have lied.” That’s false. Trump at least twice — most recently in a debate last month — said Bush “lied.”

Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” told Trump (4:06 mark) that he disagreed with Trump on Bush’s motives for invading Iraq in 2003. “I disagree with you vehemently about George Bush, the younger, lying on purpose to get us into a war with Iraq,” O’Reilly said. Trump denied he called Bush a liar.

Trump, March 16: I didn’t say lie. I said he may have lied. I don’t know. Did he really believe there were weapons of mass destruction?

O’Reilly: I think he did.

Trump: I know that when his father went in and his father actually did something pretty good because he pulled back. He didn’t get into the trap. But I know that Saddam Hussein was taunting the father. You know, the Americans, they were not, you know, they were cowards. He was saying all sorts of things because of the fact intelligently they pulled back and I know that, you know, and you know, also, that the son loves the father and I think he felt very hurt by it. He didn’t like him …

But Trump did say Bush lied, and on more than one occasion.

In the Feb. 13 debate in South Carolina, debate moderator John Dickerson asked Trump about an October 2008 interview in which Trump said it would have been a “wonderful thing” if Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi tried to impeach Bush because he lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. Asked if he still believes that Bush should have been impeached, Trump called the Iraq war a “big fat mistake.” Pressed again for an answer, Trump went on to say, “They lied.”

Trump, Feb. 13: You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

As for his 2008 comments, Trump said of Bush in an interview with CNN, “He lied. He got us into the war with lies.” Wolf Blitzer, host of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” pushed back, saying Bush administration officials argue that the intelligence they received was wrong — not that they lied. “I don’t believe that,” Trump responded.

Here is Trump’s exchange with Blitzer, who asked Trump to “grade” public officials:

Blitzer, Oct. 15, 2008: Nancy Pelosi, the speaker?

Trump: Well, you know, when she first got in and was named speaker, I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person. I like her a lot. But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost — it just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which, personally, I think would have been a wonderful thing.

Blitzer: Impeaching him?

Trump: Absolutely, for the war, for the war.

Blitzer: Because of the conduct of the war.

Trump: Well, he lied. He got us into the war with lies. And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And, yet, Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.

(CROSSTALK)

Blitzer: Their argument is, they weren’t lying, that that was the intelligence that he was presented, and it was not as if he was just lying about it.

Trump: I don’t believe that.

Blitzer: You believe that it was a deliberate lie?

Trump: I don’t believe it. And I don’t think you believe it either, Wolf. You are a very, very intelligent young man. I don’t think you believe it either.

Trump has every right to change his mind, but he can’t change what he said. And he did say Bush lied.