Donald Trump said on national TV Thursday night that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, but luckily, everyone’s favorite shock jock Howard Stern’s 14-year-old- interview with the Donald was readily available to debunk the claim.
Speaking on NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum held in New York, Trump insisted that he had never supported the war in Iraq. “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from ’04. You can look at before that,” Trump said, to the surprise of most pundits and fact checkers. NBC host Matt Lauer let the statement pass, either not knowing it was false or because he didn’t want to jeopardize the rest of the conversation by irritating Trump.
Trump pointed to his 2004 interview in which he did speak out against the war, but by then, many other supporters came around to the same conclusion. However, in September 2002, Trump phoned into Howard Stern’s radio show to discuss the one-year anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and got a chance to express his views on the idea of launching a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
“Are you for invading Iraq?” Stern asked.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said. “You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
To be sure, this wasn’t the main topic of the interview. In fact, it came after the Jewish radio host discussed the city’s housing market with Trump and then raised what Stern saw as the most burning issue of the time:
“Probably the most important question I can ask on a day like today is where is Melania and is she naked?” Sten asked. Trump responded that his wife was at home and that he’s “not 100% sure” whether she was dressed or not.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman