Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that, if he'd known that there were not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he wouldn’t have backed the Iraq War. But he's also said in the past that the war's ultimate outcome made the world safer.
On Wednesday, Rubio said that he wouldn’t have backed the war if it had been known that no weapons of mass destruction were present in the country -- and neither would President George W. Bush.
Charlie Rose: "Let me talk about Iraq and an issue that came up yesterday with Jeb Bush talking about the invasion, looking back. He was asked a question by Megan Kelly, and he says he misunderstood the question, so I'll ask you the question that I think she intended to ask. Which was, if you look at the Iraq war, after finding out that there were no weapons of mass destruction, would you, if you knew that, have been in favor of the Iraqi invasion?"
Marco Rubio: "Well, not only would I not have been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it, and he said so."
But as recently as March of this year, Rubio said that “the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein does not run Iraq.”
“Hindsight is always 20/20, but we don't know what the world would look like if Saddam Hussein was still there,” he said during an appearance on FOX News’ The Five.
Back in 2010, during a Senate debate for the seat he ultimately won, Rubio also said that the war made America safer.
Asked “Is America safer and better off for having gone to war in Iraq?” he responded: “I think the answer ultimately is yes. First of all, the world is better off because Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge in Iraq. And I think we have to remind ourselves of that, is that the world is a better and safer place because Saddam Hussein no longer is in charge of that country.”
Rubio allies say that there's no contradiction between the statements, suggesting that the original faulty justification for the war is a separate issue from the benefits of Hussein's removal from power.
The Iraq question has dominated media coverage of the 2016 GOP presidential field this week after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush struggled in multiple media appearances to say whether or not, knowing the information we have now, he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq.
- Mark Murray and Carrie Dann