Sunday, June 05, 2016

Trump Changes His Tune on Libya Position
By Marisa Schultz
June 5, 2016 | 5:09pm

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump flip-flopped his position on Libya Sunday, saying he backed “surgical” strikes to take out ruler Muammar Gaddafi even though he’s campaigned that the Middle East would be better with Gaddafi in power.

“I didn’t mind surgical. And I said surgical. You do a surgical shot and you take him out,” Trump told “Face the Nation.”

Trump has repeatedly hit Hillary Clinton for the US intervention in Libya and insisted he’d do better. Trump lashed out at Sen. Ted Cruz at a GOP debate in February for claiming Trump was in favor of US involvement in Libya.

“He said I was in favor in Libya,” Trump said in Houston. “I never discussed that subject. I was in favor of Libya? We would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now.”

But Trump changed his tune Sunday when CBS’s John Dickerson dredged up a video blog from the billionaire in 2011 when he called for immediate action in Libya: “We should go in. We should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it and save these lives,” he said at the time.

Trump back-pedaled that he was never in favor of strong intervention but surgical was OK: “I was for doing something, but I wasn’t for what you have right now.”

Trump blamed for the Obama Administration for handling Libya “horribly” with the Benghazi attack and subsequent rise of ISIS.

 “We do it poorly, as poorly as you can do it. You can’t do worse. And then now, if you look at what’s happened, the end result is, ISIS selling the oil and it’s a total mess,” Trump said.
The billionaire real estate tycoon then dredged up his past deals with the former dictator.

“I made a lot of money with Gaddafi, if you remember. He came to the country and he had to make a deal with me because he needed a place to stay, he paid me a fortune, never got to stay there, and it became sort of a big joke,” Trump said.

Trump likely was referring to Gaddafi pitching a tent in September 2009 on an estate belonging to Trump in Bedford, NY for the dictator’s visit to the United Nations. The Trump organization said at the time the estate was leased to Middle Eastern partners and the elaborate tent “may or may not” be for Gaddafi.

Neighbors scoffed at Trump potentially housing an enemy. In the end, Gaddafi never stayed at the Seven Springs estate.

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