This afternoon, while appearing to be under the influence of about four valiums, Donald Trump gave his, uh, much sorta anticipated speech about his plan for defeating ISIS. I haven’t yet sat down to watch the whole thing because Trump’s stultifying and halting delivery of the speech causes me to lose interest in it every 30 seconds or so and go look for something else to write about. This, however, was a noteworthy moment of the speech (if delivered as terribly as the rest):
Rough transcript follows:
Our current strategy of nation-building and regime change is a proven failure. We have created the vacuums that allow terrorists to grow and thrive.
I was an opponent of the Iraq war from the beginning – a major difference between me and my opponent.
Though I was a private citizen, whose personal opinions on such matters was not sought, I nonetheless publicly expressed my private doubts about the invasion. Three months before the invasion I said, in an interview with Neil Cavuto, to whom I offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery, that “perhaps [we] shouldn’t be doing it yet,” and that “the economy is a much bigger problem.”
In August of 2004, very early in the conflict, I made a detailed statement to Esquire magazine. Here is the quote in full:
“Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the country? C’mon.”
So here is the proof he offers to contradict his own express statement to Howard Stern that he supported the war: that he said in an interview with Neil Cavuto three months before the war that “maybe we shouldn’t do this yet” (which is, you might notice, different from saying “maybe we shouldn’t do this.”) Also, he adds that a year and four months after the invasion of Iraq, he and all the other Democrats who had been in favor of it before it occurred had changed their tunes and were performing their inevitable surrender dance.
That is not being opposed to the Iraq War “from the beginning,” nor, for that matter, does it demonstrate being opposed to the Iraq War (in the sense of having been opposed to doing it at all) at the time the August 2004 statement – it’s not saying “we shouldn’t have done it,” it’s saying “Maybe we should have done it but we had no idea George W. Bush would screw it all up.”
That does not demonstrate political or foreign affairs foresight. It demonstrates familiarity with, and eager willingness to adopt, the Democrat talking points of the day. Literally, this was the official John Kerry position: “Sure, I voted for it, but I didn’t know George W. Bush would f*** it up like this.” A position which included Hillary Clinton as of at least December 2003.
As a side note: Is it actually possible that Donald Trump is getting worse at using a TelePrompTer the more often he uses one?