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Donald Trump Backtracks on His Criticism of George W. Bush

Republican Presidential Candidates Debate In Greenville, South CarolinaRepublican Presidential Candidates Debate In Greenville, South Carolina
Presidential candidate Donald Trump Photograph by Spencer Platt—Getty Images

During his appearances on various Sunday morning political shows, Donald Trump backtracked on some comments he made about former president George W. Bush during the Republican debate the previous night.

Trump, as he has done multiple times throughout this presidential race, invoked the Iraq War as a way to criticize Jeb Bush for his brother’s actions. “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that,” Trump told Jeb, eliciting boos from the audience. Then regarding former president Bush starting the unpopular Iraq war, he said, “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none.”

The Washington Post reports that in a 2008 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Trump said that Nancy Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House at the time, should have pushed for Bush’s impeachment because of his management of the Iraq war. When asked why, Trump replied, for “[getting] us into the war with lies,” a sentiment he repeated on Saturday night. However, the next morning during an appearance on ABC’s This Week, he said, “I don’t even think about it.”

Though he previously depicted Bush’s actions as deliberate, on Sunday morning he distanced himself from those statements. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump backed away from his past impeachment calls, saying, “It may not have been impeachable because it was a mistake.”

The former president remains popular among Republicans. During their own Sunday morning interviews, Trump’s fellow candidates expressed their frustration with the businessman’s views. On ABC’s This Week, Ted Cruz accused him of being leftist, while Marco Rubio said it’s “disturbing” that Trump continues to say Bush lied to invade Iraq.