And yes, that’s right, while calling for regime change in Iraq, Trump suggested that an invasion of North Korea would also be a good option. The man has hawkish instincts. He has repeatedly chosen to speak publicly to advance them. He only turned against the Iraq War of 2002 in a public way when it began to go bad.
Trump has not explicitly acknowledged any of his blatant lies.
Over time, however, he has tellingly shifted his story. He no longer says there are 25 articles documenting that he fought very, very hard against Iraq. Now he says that he told Sean Hannity he was against the war, and if we would only ask the Fox News host, who is also a Trump campaign adviser, Hannity would be happy to tell us.
Enter Robert Draper of the New York Times Magazine. After Trump said of his supposed Iraq War opposition, “a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it,” he did some reporting. “I recently reached out to Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, for more details about this meeting,” Draper wrote. She didn’t provide any, but a high-ranking former Bush White House senior official told me categorically that no such meeting ever happened, and that no one from the administration was deputized to talk to Trump.” Why would they? There is only one man in America who says that he remembers Trump being anti-war!
And Draper talked to that man, too:
As it happens, I met with Hannity the week before in the office of his radio studio in Midtown Manhattan in the course of reporting a coming article. Hannity told me then what he reiterated in an interview with Trump immediately following the debate—that such conversations did, in fact, occur.
“He would watch the TV show and call me, and he and I would go at it over the Iraq war,” Hannity said. “I remember these conversations vividly. I remember saying to him, ‘I agree with you, take the oil! But this is why we need to go into Iraq.’ ”
Isn’t that … confusing?
What possible anti-invasion argument from Trump would prompt the response, “I agree with you, take the oil!” Wouldn’t the United States need to invade Iraq in order to “take” its oil? Circa 2002 Saddam Hussein did not seem inclined to give it to us. Also, did Sean Hannity just say he agrees that the U.S. should’ve taken Iraq’s oil? I thought he regarded “blood for oil” as a pernicious lie concocted by evil leftists.
Hannity’s story only gets fishier from there:
Hannity volunteered to me that he was relying solely on his memory: “I’ve had people go through the archives,” he said, “and unfortunately we’ve changed syndicators and stations and it’s hard to get ahold of.” I later asked a Fox News spokeswoman to confirm both the effort to locate such an audiotape and the implication that no digitized versions exist. She thanked me for my inquiry but would not provide additional information. But it’s curious that Hannity waited so long to share this memory, when for the past seven months skeptics have been pointing to the Sept. 11, 2002, Stern interview as proof that Trump has been revising history. The Fox News host has been among Trump’s foremost on-air boosters, and has also provided private strategic counsel to the campaign.
But ultimately, Hannity’s story doesn’t matter. Even if Trump confided to Hannity that he opposed the Iraq War in the brief window after going on Howard Stern and before the actual invasion, he would still be lying about fighting very hard against it; lying about the 25 articles; lying about the delegation; and obscuring his years of support for regime change in Iraq, including in a book he wrote, his simultaneous call for an invasion of Korea, and his 2011 support for invading Libya.