During last night’s GOP presidential debate in South Carolina, Donald Trump sounded like a liberal anti-war activist when he accused President Bush of lying to Americans to take the nation to war. Midway through the debate, Trump said “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. They knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
If Mr. Trump had said that the Iraq War was a mistake, he would’ve been fine. He wasn’t satisfied with telling the truth, though. Instead, Mr. Trump took a lengthy stroll in conspiracy theory territory. Peggy Noonan was President Reagan’s chief speechwriter. She’s known for her measured, precise statements. Of Trump’s diatribe, Ms. Noonan said “It was lions and tigers and bears, oh, my. It’s what happens when a field — an uncoordinated field of 17 suddenly becomes six men who are really fighting and really want it. There were lots of sparks. To me there were two headlines. One is, Donald Trump didn’t just have controversial or interesting remarks to say on — on the invasion of Iraq. By going into, by looking at Jeb Bush and saying essentially, your brother lied to get us in there and also he was president during 9/11 and he should have made us safer, to me he was getting into or he was into code pink territory. Not Democratic Party territory, not moderate Republican, but kind of code pink territory. I’m not sure how that’s going to play. I think we may be hearing a bit about it the next few days.”
Code Pink is a fringe left anti-war organization founded by Medea Benjamin. There’s nothing measured about them. They’re so far to the left, they’d have to take a hard right turn to reach Bernie Sanders.
Less than 24 hours later, Trump insists that he didn’t call President Bush a liar:
TRUMP: I don’t care. Look, look, I’m a businessman. I built a great company. I’m self-funding my campaign. All of the people in the audience, most of them were special interests. They were — it was all stacked for these people, which is fine. It’s fine, but it’s really not appropriate.
But the people in the audience were lobbyists and special interest people. I don’t have any of those people, because I’m putting up my own money. I tell the truth. OK? There were no weapons of mass destruction. I’m not blaming anybody. I’m just saying he went in there. He thought there were weapons of mass destruction maybe, or maybe he didn’t, OK? But he thought they were — and there weren’t. So, I’m telling the truth.
DICKERSON: But you said he lied. That’s — that’s a little more than just he thought that…
TRUMP: Well, he may have. If he knew there weren’t weapons of mass destruction, and if he used that as an excuse to go in and try and make up for some sins for previous years, then it would be a lie. But I don’t think — maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t true.
Last night, Mr. Trump virtually repeated the fringe lefty line that Bush lied, people died. This morning, Mr. Trump said that “I’m not blaming anybody. I’m just saying he went in there” before saying that President Bush might have lied. In between his flip-flop, Mr. Trump said the was “telling the truth.”
The question that Mr. Trump didn’t answer, that he won’t answer is which answer is the truth. At this point, it’s fair to ask which response was the truth. Mr. Trump isn’t running to be the high school class president. He’s running to be the leader of the free world.