House Democrats flatly rejected Donald Trump’s claim that President Obama is responsible for the Islamic State, but hit their own presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with collateral damage Thursday.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Mr. Trump’s claim “verbal poo-poo” and said the real event that spawned the Islamic State, or ISIS, was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by then-President George W. Bush, and with Congress’s backing.
“The fact is the invasion of Iraq — the invasion in Iraq under misrepresentations to the American people — has done more to inflame the terrorists than any action you can name,” she said.
Mrs. Pelosi was one of those who voted against the Iraq invasion, saying that she and other top Democrats knew the Bush administration’s justification “not to be true at the time.”
Mrs. Clinton, though, did vote for the Iraq War as a senator and has been trying to explain that vote since. The vote severely damaged her in her 2008 presidential campaign and was still a sore point for many Democrats in this year’s primary.
The former State Department secretary now says the vote was a mistake but that she voted to back Mr. Bush as a diplomatic tool, hoping he would use the authorization Congress granted him to get the United Nations on board.
Mrs. Pelosi said the U.S. justification for war was flawed from the start. She said that was clear to those who listened. She was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence at the time and said similar warnings about the flaws in the intelligence were sounded by the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Bob Graham.
Mr. Trump this week blamed Mr. Obama for the rise of the Islamic State and said Mrs. Clinton was “co-founder.”
The billionaire businessman’s own history on the Iraq War is more complicated. He said he opposed it from the start, though in 2002, speaking with radio host Howard Stern, Mr. Trump seemed to suggest he thought going into Iraq was the right move: “Yeah, I guess so,” he said.
Months later, in another interview with Fox News, Mr. Trump said Mr. Bush was moving too quickly and should wait for the United Nations to come on board.