Once again, Donald Trump praises Saddam Hussein.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump once again expressed his support for keeping dictators in power in the Middle East, praising former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.
Speaking at a Tuesday campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, the presumptive Republican nominee stated that the United States shouldn’t have been in Iraq, telling the crowd: “We shouldn’t have been there. We shouldn’t have destabilized.” However, as CNN reports, Trump “supported the Iraq War before the invasion and in the early months of the war.”
Stating that Hussein “was a bad guy,” Trump went on to praise his efficient killing of terrorists.
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But do you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights, they didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over.”
Trump went on to claim that as a result of the U.S. destabilizing the region, “Today, Iraq is a Harvard for terrorism.”
“You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard, okay?” he continued.
The Clinton campaign was quick to respond to those remarks. Senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan released an email statement saying that “Trump’s praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds.”
“Trump yet again lauded Saddam Hussein as a great killer of terrorists, noting with approval that he never bothered to read anyone their rights,” Sullivan wrote, noting that Trump has also praised North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
“In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism, one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes,” he wrote, adding: “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan appeared taken aback by Trump’s words. During an interview with Fox News, Ryan said that Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people.”
As NBC News reports, “This isn’t the first time Trump has cast the brutal dictator in a positive light — or called Iraq an Ivy League locale for aspiring terrorists. Throughout the primaries Trump glossed over Hussein’s violent history in favor of what he viewed as a more stable Middle East ruled by Saddam’s viciousness.”
In an October exclusive with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Trump asserted that the Middle East would be better off today if Moammar Gadhafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein were still in power. “It’s not even a contest,” Trump told Meet the Press. Trump continued to push this idea at a rally in Franklin, Tennessee, telling the crowd that despite Hussein’s “vicious” rule in Iraq “there were no terrorists in Iraq” while he ruled.
“You know what he used to do to terrorists?” Trump polled the Tennessee crowd. “A one day trial and shoot him…and the one day trial usually lasted five minutes, right? There was no terrorism then.”
Noting that Hussein also financed international terrorism, CNN concluded their report, noting:
Hussein was notoriously effective at suppressing dissent in his country, but he frequently targeted civilians and minority groups while in power, which earned him widespread condemnation from the international community as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers.
You can watch Trump’s latest remarks, courtesy of NBC News.