GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper on the Sunday broadcast of “State of the Union” that the world would be “100 percent” better if former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and former Libya prime minister Moammar Gadhafi were still in power today.
“People are getting their heads chopped off,” Trump explained. “They’re being drowned in cages. Right now it’s far worse than ever under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi.”
“Iraq used to be no terrorists,” he continued. “Now it’s the Harvard of terrorism. If you look at Iraq from years ago — I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy — he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now Iraq is a training ground for terrorists.”
Trump also added that there is no longer Iraq or Libya, saying they are “all broken up,” and they “have no control.”
He went on to explain his position to Tapper, but made sure that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad wasn’t included among Hussein and Gadhafi.
Exchange as follows:
TAPPER: The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein…
TRUMP: A hundred percent.
TAPPER: … and Gadhafi in power?
TRUMP: A hundred percent.
TAPPER: If they were…
TRUMP: Now, as far as Assad is concerned…
TAPPER: What about the human rights abuses and…
TRUMP: Let’s talk — well, you don’t think they’re happening now? They’re worse now than they ever were. People are getting their heads chopped off. They’re being drowned. They’re — right now, they are far worse than they were ever under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi.
I mean, look what happened. Libya is a catastrophe. You look at our ambassador, as an example, OK? Libya is a disaster. Iraq is a disaster. Syria is a disaster, the whole Middle East. And it all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Barack Obama. It all blew up.
Now, one thing about Assad, not a good guy. I understand that, but we’re backing and spending billions and billions of dollars on backing rebels that we have no idea who they are. And a lot of people think they’re ISIS. I happen to think they’re ISIS, but who knows?
But we’re spending billions of dollars to get Assad out with people that we have no idea who they are. I don’t think that is smart. We have to rebuild our country. Our country is falling to pieces. We have $19 trillion in debt. We have infrastructure that is a disaster, our roadways, our airports, our schools, everything.
We have to start thinking about ourselves. We are pouring trillions of dollars into the Middle East, and we have nothing for it. We have nothing.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent