The billionaire was flustered and cranky. Not only was he thrown off his game by sustained boos from the crowd and a pile-on by his rivals, but he often sounded more like a Democrat than a Republican.
He didn’t just call George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq a disaster – which he has done before – but he blamed him for 9/11 and said that the former president “lied” about the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war. “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” the frontrunner said at the Peace Center. “George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.”
Trump again defended Planned Parenthood, as everyone else promised to defund it. “It does wonderful things, but not as it relates to abortion,” he said. “Wonderful things that have to do with women’s health.”
Keep in mind that he said this in the buckle of the Bible Belt, just down the road from Furman and Bob Jones universities.Eli Stokols reports at Politico:
Holding a 20-point lead in the state over his nearest rival with a week to go, Trump blasted the former president for the national security record his brother’s campaign plans to tout, blaming him not just for the Iraq War but for the 9/11 terror attacks.
“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that," Trump said to the former Florida governor, prompting a long, contentious back-and-forth.
In a state that’s home to a large number of military installations and veterans, the supercharged showdown between two candidates who’ve been sparring for months could play big, potentially reordering the race in the final week.
Our Principles PAC, launched last month with the purpose of attacking Trump, is preparing to blanket South Carolina's airwaves with a new ad featuring Trump's past statement that impeaching George W. Bush "would have been a good thing."
Politifact rebuts his claim to have been an early opponent of Iraq:
Trump often repeats this line, and we’ve rated a similar Trump claim Mostly False, because he didn’t appear to take any public position on the war until after the March 2003 invasion. In this more recent version of the statement, he also said he stated his opposition to the war "loud and clear." But the public record of his positions is thin.Kevin Drum is more direct:
He's lying. He didn't oppose the Iraq War before it started. Long ago he promised us 25 clippings proving that he spoke up against the war, but he's never coughed them up. That's because he can't. It's pathetic.