If you’re like me, and polling shows that you probably aren’t, you put a great deal of emphasis on foreign policy when deciding on a candidate for office, particularly (obviously) when that office is President of the United States. Because we live in a world that has been fundamentally changed, and not for the better, by the increasingly-batshit-in-hindsight decision to invade Iraq in 2003, how somebody approached that issue at the time is very relevant to determining how you think they’ll perform in office today. Republican presidential nominee and former reality TV star Donald Trump has made a lot of hay about Hillary Clinton’s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, and, hey, I get it. It was a lousy vote that speaks to her often worryingly militaristic foreign policy instincts. It should continue to dog her as she pursues the White House.
Trump has also made a lot of hay in this campaign by claiming that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. The revelation that this was a lie has affected his support about as much as all the other revelations of lies that have come out of his mouth, which is to say hardly at all. But now he’s gone and picked himself a running mate,
Cotton Hill Mike Pence,
Problem, no? Well, let’s just say that, had Mike Pence decided to run for president this cycle instead of waiting around in case the eventual nominee came calling, Trump would surely have used that vote, and subsequent defense, to bludgeon Pence’s electoral hopes into submission. But now that Pence
returned his call agreed to run on his ticket, what’s Trump’s comment on his Iraq War-supporting past? The answer will surprise you…no, no it won’t. It’s not in any way surprising:
Let’s go to the transcript:
Lesley Stahl: But we did go to war, if you remember. We went to Iraq.
Donald Trump: Yeah, you went to Iraq, but that was handled so badly. And that was a war — by the way, that was a war that we shouldn’t have entered because Iraq did not knock down — excuse me —
Lesley Stahl: Your running mate —
Donald Trump: Iraq did not —
Lesley Stahl: — voted for it.
Donald Trump: I don’t care.
Lesley Stahl: What do you mean you don’t care that he voted for?
Donald Trump: It’s a long time ago. And he voted that way and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people.
Lesley Stahl: But you’ve harped on this.
Donald Trump: But I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but you’ve used that vote of Hillary’s that was the same as Gov. Pence as the example of her bad judgment.
Donald Trump: Many people have, and frankly, I’m one of the few that was right on Iraq.
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but what about he —
Donald Trump: He’s entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.
Lesley Stahl: But she’s not? Okay, come on —
Donald Trump: But she’s not —
Lesley Stahl: She’s not?
Donald Trump: No. She’s not.
Lesley Stahl: Got it.
People who care about hypocrisy in American politics are about as rare as people who care about foreign policy in American politics, but you’ve got to be kidding me. This isn’t just hypocrisy–this is Donald Trump declaring for the I’ve-lost-count-th time in this race that he doesn’t give a shit about policy on any subject. His only consistent approach to serious issues is that he will definitely tweet about them while in what appears to be a panic.
Beyond that, he’s so far out to lunch that he’s not even pretending otherwise.