NEW YORK — Throughout his presidential campaign Donald Trump has relentlessly criticized Hillary Clinton’s vote to authorize the Iraq War.
But confronted with his newly-tapped running mate’s own “yes” vote in 2002, the presumptive Republican nominee offered a very different response.
“I don’t care,” Trump said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in his first joint interview with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whom Trump announced Friday will join him on the Republican ticket.
Trump has repeatedly castigated Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, for voting in 2002 to authorize military force in Iraq. He has portrayed the then-New York senator’s decision as evidence that she has “horribly bad judgment” and isn’t fit to be president.
But Trump didn’t shy away from the double standard in his response to Clinton’s vote versus Pence’s.
“He’s entitled to make a mistake every once in a while,” Trump said of Pence, who was a congressman from Indiana at the time.
“But she’s not?” CBS interviewer Lesley Stahl pressed.
“No. She’s not,” Trump replied.
Still, Trump insisted that Pence voted to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq because he, like others, were “misled.”
The presumptive Republican nominee also continued to insist in the interview that he “was against the war in Iraq from the beginning,” despite evidence to the contrary.
Trump has continued to claim on the campaign trail that he was opposed to the Iraq War before the U.S. launched its invasion — and the “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday once again raised the specter of that contradiction.
But Trump signaled his support for the war a month before both Clinton and Pence voted to authorize it, in an interview on Howard Stern’s radio program.
And in the early months of the war, when it appeared to most to be a military success, Trump agreed with that analysis.
“It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint,” Trump said in a March 2003 interview.
It wasn’t until later that year that Trump began expressing his opposition to the war.