Donald Trump believes the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi were still in power.
“One hundred percent,” Trump said when asked by Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” if the Middle East was safer under the ruthless dictators’ rule than it is now.
“People are getting their heads chopped off,” the real estate mogul continued. “They’re being drowned. Right now it’s far worse than ever under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi.”
Hussein, the former Iraqi president, was captured during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and later convicted for the 1982 killings of 148 Iraqi Shiites. He was executed in 2006.
“Iraq used to be no terrorists,” Trump said. “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.”
Gadhafi, Trump and Hussein. (Photos: AP/Reuters/Getty/File)
Gadhafi was ousted during a 2011 uprising and was later captured and killed by rebels.
“Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya,” the former “Celebrity Apprentice” star said. “Frankly, there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”
Trump said the situation in the Middle East deteriorated during the Obama administration.
“I mean, look what happened,” he said. “Libya is a catastrophe. Libya is a disaster. Iraq is a disaster. Syria is a disaster. The whole Middle East. It all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Barack Obama. It all blew up.”
So what would he do differently?
“The Trump doctrine is simple,” he said. “It’s strength. It’s strength. Nobody is going to mess with us. Our military will be made stronger.”
Trump at a rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. (Photo: Daron Dean/Reuters)
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday, Trump boasted about a foreign policy prediction he made before 9/11.
“In my book, written in 2000, I was the one that predicted Osama bin Laden was trouble and you better do something about him,” Trump said. “Well, guess what? 19 months later, he came down and knocked out the World Trade Center, killed thousands of Americans. I put it in a book. In fact, a couple of your competitors were saying, ‘Whoa … Trump actually mentioned Osama bin Laden and that we better do something about him or we’re going to have problems.’”
The Republican frontrunner also discussed a pair of recent polls that show him trailing Ben Carson in Iowa.
“I was in Iowa three days ago,” Trump said. “We had such an unbelievable turnout that I find it really difficult to believe that I’m in second place.”
Not that he plans on changing his approach.
“I’m being divisive right now because I want to win,” Trump said. “I know how to win; that’s what I have to do. Ultimately if I do win, I’m going to be a great unifier, George. I will be a great unifier for the country. The country right now is terribly divided by a president that doesn’t know how to lead, and he’s a very divisive person. I will be a great unifier. You will be surprised to see that, but you will see that.”