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2002 Interview Contradicts Trump on Early Opposition to Iraq War

A 2002 interview with Howard Stern shows Trump saying he supported the invasion, in contrast to what he's been saying on the campaign trail.
Image: Republican Presidential Candidates Take Part In CNN Town Hall
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a CNN South Carolina Republican Presidential Town Hall with host Anderson Cooper on Feb. 18, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Donald Trump's opposition to the invasion of Iraq is under scrutiny.

A 2002 interview with Howard Stern shows Trump saying that he did, in fact, support the invasion.

"Yeah, I guess so," Trump told the radio host when asked directly. "I wish the first time it was done correctly."

Buzzfeed News tracked down the interview, and put the audio online.

One of the consistent claims made by Trump during his Republican presidential campaign has been his early opposition to the war, although no records of that position have been found by news organizations.

On "Meet the Press" last week, Trump said he opposed the 2003 invasion and that he "said it before that," but because of his role as a private businessman, "people didn't write everything I said."

The Stern interview is in direct contrast with what Trump has been saying on the campaign trail, where he's been touting his early opposition to the war as an example of his foreign policy "vision."

Less than an hour after the story broke online, Trump responded during a CNN town hall: "By the time the war started, I was against the war."

Trump said he wasn't asked about the issue earlier because he was in the private sector at the time, and he maintained that there was proof from 2003 and 2004 of his opposition.

He didn't deny the comments. "I could have said that," Trump said, later saying that he "may have" made that statement.

"Nobody asked me. I wasn't a politician. It was probably the first time somebody asked me the question," Trump said. "By the time the war started I was against the war, and there are articles, I mean there are headlines in 2003, 2004, that I was totally against the war."

In an interview on TODAY on Friday, the real estate tycoon stood firm on whether he is exaggerating his position on the war in Iraq.

"The first time the question was ever asked of me that was long before the war ever stared," Trump said. "By the time the war started, I was against it."