"Yeah I do, because I have John Bolton who I would definitely say is a hawk; and I have other people that are on the other side of the equation. And ultimately I make the decision so it doesn't matter. But I want — for instance, I disagreed very much [referring to 2003 illegal Iraq invasion and military occupation] with John Bolton, his attitude on the Middle East and Iraq was going into Iraq, I think that was a big mistake; I think I've been proven right. I've been against that [Iraq invasion and military occupation] forever. John Bolton is doing a very good job, but he takes generally a tough posture. But I have other people that don't take that posture. But the only one that matters [with regard to final decision-making] is me. Because I'll listen to everybody. And I want people on both sides. Having people on both sides, to me, is very important."
Follow-on question, the reporter asks Donald Trump —
"Can you clear something up? At what point were you briefed about the potential casualties of an Iran air strike? Were you briefed in the initial planning stages? At what point were you actually briefed [ — ] "
[ In reference to reports that Trump declined to give military authority for launch of the strikes due to expected deaths of 150 persons in Iran ]
Trump then responded —
"No, I started to hear that it [expected deaths/casualties] was a lot. But again, no decision was made. I said 'you come and see me'; and they came and see[sic] me at the time. We hadn't done anything. And I asked the question. And I said, 'I want to know that answer before I make a decision'. So we hadn't made a decision to go forward [authorizing air strikes]. I said, 'Everybody: we will meet. One thing I want to know, and I want to know it accurately, as accurately as possible: How many people will die?'
Just so you know: I come from New York City. In New York City we have a lot of Iranians. And they're great people. I have friends that are Iranians; many friends. Living in New York City, you meet many Iranians. They're very smart, they're very ambitious, they have tremendous — they're high quality people. But I have many friends that are Iranian. I don't want to kill a hundred-and-fifty Iranians. I understand it. I don't want to kill a hundred-and-fifty of anything or anybody. Unless it's absolutely necessary. And most people very much agree with what I'm doing.
Now — if the leadership of Iran behaves badly, then it's going to be a very, very bad day for them. But hopefully, they're smart and hopefully, they really care for their people and not themselves; and hopefully we can get Iran back on to an economic track that's fantastic, where they're a really wealthy nation. Which would be a wonderful thing. All those things I want to do. But if they're [Iran regime leaders] going to be foolish that's never going to happen."
See Also —
Trump: Iraq Invasion "Worst Decision In The History Of Our Country" West Columbia, SC 6/25/2018
Video and Transcript
[Trump:] "What? You Think We're So Innocent?"
author: Paul Atwood
In response to media questions about his failure to address the dismal human rights record of North Korea Trump in his inimitable manner said "What, you think we're so innocent?"
Trump is the first president of whom I am aware even to broach the unmentionable much less admit publicly that we are hardly exceptional.
Donald Trump's Unique Human Decency On Iraq
author: John V. Walsh
From a humanitarian standpoint, the content of Trump's condemnation of the war is outstanding. In fact, to grieve over the lives of Americans but not the people of Iraq is a form of racism. Trump is virtually unique among major politicians in taking this stand on the lives of innocents the US has attacked. He should be praised for it.
As election day approaches, it is time to ignore the noise of the moment and think clearly about the crucial issues facing us, none of which is more important than war or peace. The War on Iraq has been a touchstone for these issues over the last 14 years.
On Iraq, Clinton and her operatives have sought to avoid at all costs an accurate comparison of her position over the last 14 years to Trump's. "What did Trump say?" has been buried by the Clintonites and company. "When did he say it?" has been slyly substituted for it. The time line has been used to equate the positions of Hillary the most notorious of hawks with that of Trump.
Let us have a look at Trump's words as well as the dates they were uttered. And compare them to Hillary's: