President Donald Trump took a dig at George W. Bush during a speech to Republican donors on Saturday, calling the former president’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 “the single worst decision ever made.”
Trump, whose shifting position on the Iraq War is well-documented, said the decision was akin to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.” CNN first reported Trump’s remarks, delivered at a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“Here we are, like the dummies of the world, because we had bad politicians running our country for a long time,” Trump said. He went on to mock fellow Republican Bush, sarcastically calling him a “real genius” over his decision to invade Iraq.
He also scorned the CIA over its flawed information about Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein harboring weapons of mass destruction.
“That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. Great intelligence agency there,” Trump joked.
As CNN noted, Trump has used this faulty assessment about the WMDs to question the reliability of the U.S. intelligence community, particularly regarding its conclusions about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Though Trump repeatedly insisted during his presidential campaign that he’d long been opposed to the Iraq War, even saying in June 2016 that he was among its “earliest” critics, the record suggests otherwise.
In a much-reported exchange with with radio host Howard Stern in September 2002, Trump expressed tepid support for the war, saying “Yeah, I guess so” when asked if he supported the impending invasion of Iraq.
In March 2003, one day after the invasion, Trump told Fox News that the conflict appeared to be “a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”
Trump’s excoriation of Bush wasn’t the only part of his fundraiser speech that made headlines. He also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent power grab in his remarks.
“He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, referring to Beijing’s decision to scrap presidential term limits, setting the stage for Xi to rule indefinitely. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”