Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE on Wednesday evening said that former President George W. Bush was to blame for the election of Barack Obama, during a heated exchange with the ex-president’s brother, Jeb Bush.
Bush, the Republican front-runner said at the main-stage GOP debate on CNN, “gave us Barack Obama.”
“Because it was such a disaster, the last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected,” he claimed.
The comments came amid an extended debate with the former Florida governor over the merits of the war in Iraq.
Bush has been in the hot seat before over his brother's policies, by refusing to say that the invasion was a mistake. He again defended the decision to send troops in to Iraq on Wednesday.
“One thing about my brother, he kept us safe,” Bush claimed. “I don’t know if you remember.”
Trump, meanwhile, took credit for opposing the war shortly after it began in 2003.
“I think it’s important because it’s about judgment. I didn’t want to go into Iraq and I fought it,” the billionaire businessman said on Wednesday.
“I am the only person ... that fought very, very hard against us — and I wasn’t a sitting politician — against going into Iraq,” he added. “In fact, a delegation was sent to my office because I was so vocal about it.”
Trump had publicly opposed the U.S. invasion into Iraq, though much of that criticism appeared to have occurred months after the war began.
The comment quickly evoked a response from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most libertarian candidate running for president this year.
“I’ve made my career as an opponent of the Iraq War,” Paul claimed.
Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, too, raised to voice to note that he also “suggested to President Bush that we not go to war” when the issue was raised in 2003. In response, Trump gave Carson a high-five.
Trump’s attempt to claim credit for the position is a stunning turnaround for the Republican Party, which has struggled over its position on the oft-maligned U.S. invasion.