Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated the US should let ISIS and Bashar al-Assad fight and “take over the remnants” and “let Russia fight ISIS” in Syria in an interview broadcast on Wednesday’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” on CNN.
Trump said, “I really understand what’s going on in Syria, because you look at it, first of all, it’s a total catastrophe, it’s a total mess, and we’re helping to make it a mess. Now, we have ISIS, and ISIS wants to go after Assad, but we’re knocking the hell out of them, even though it’s not a very full-blown thing, we’re still dropping bombs all over the place, and you know, look, they’re not exactly loving life over in Syria, so we’re stopping them, to a certain extent, from going after Assad. You have Russia, that’s now there, Russia’s on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS, as much as we do, if not more, because they don’t want them coming into Russia. And I’m saying, ‘Why are we knocking ISIS, and yet at the same time, we’re against Assad?’ Let them fight, take over the remnants, but more importantly, let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight them. Let them fight in Syria. Now, we can fight them in Iraq, but if you think about Iraq, we’ve spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives lost, wounded warriors who we love, and I love all over the place, what do we have in Iraq?”
After host Erin Burnett cut in to ask, “You said you’d put ground troops on the ground in Iraq?” Trump responded, “Well, we’re going to to do something with ISIS. I was totally against the war in Iraq, and I was from the beginning, 2003, 2004, because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I was right, and should be given credit, because out of everybody running, i’m the one person that said don’t do it.”
When asked how he would put ground troops in Iraq, but not Syria, since there really isn’t a border between the two countries, he stated, “Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why are we — why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight. And let Russia, they’re in Syria already, let them fight ISIS. Look, I don’t want ISIS. ISIS is bad. They’re evil. When they start doing with the head-chopping, and drowning of — these are really bad dues, so I don’t want them. But let them fight it out. Let Russia take care of ISIS. How many places can we be?”
He concluded, “I’ve watched Assad, and I’ve watched a little bit on the other side. The problem is the other side of Assad, we have no idea who they are. They probably are ISIS. I’m saying, are we better off with Assad? We have no idea who these people are. We give them weapons. We give them ammunition. We give them everything. Erin, we have no idea who — I mean, maybe it’s worse than Assad. So, what are we doing? Why are we involved? We have to get rid of ISIS, very importantly, but I look at Assad and Assad, to me, looks better than the other side, and you know, this has happened before. We back a certain side, and that side turns out to be a total catastrophe. Russia likes Assad, seemingly a lot. let them worry about ISIS. Let them fight it out. Now, in Iraq, we have to do it. we shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but we left the wrong way. When Obama took us out the way he took us out, that was a mistake, we should never have been there in the first place.”
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