Jeb Bush: 'I would not have gone into Iraq'

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) said Thursday that he would not have invaded Iraq in hindsight, as he sought to clarify his position amid mounting criticism.

“If we are all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, ‘Knowing what we know now, what would you have done?’ ” Bush said, according to video from Fox 10 Phoenix reporter Steve Kraft at an event in Arizona, “I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.”

“That’s not to say the world [isn’t] safer because Saddam Hussein is gone — it is significantly safer.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bush's remark follows his repeated stumbles over whether he would have authorized the 2003 invasion, led by his brother, George W. Bush, knowing what he does now.

In an interview Fox News’s “The Kelly File” aired over the weekend, he answered the question from host Megyn Kelly by saying he would have invaded Iraq, noting that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit More than half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020, setting record MORE and other lawmakers in Congress authorized the war.

A number of conservative commentators, including Laura Ingraham and Byron York, criticized his answer and questioned how Bush could still support the war even after the realization that intelligence claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was wrong.

Bush later said during a Tuesday radio interview on the "Sean Hannity Show" that he misheard the question, but refused to engage in hypotheticals. 

He again balked at explaining his stance during a town hall on Wednesday, where he said that the question was a “disservice” to troops that served in Iraq.